A survey by ESPN has revealed the extent of Formula One’s struggle to capture the imagination of American sports fans. It ranked fourth out of all motor sports in a popularity poll. Top was NASCAR with three-fifths of the vote (59.5%), followed by NHRA drag racing (13.4%) and motorcycle racing (9.7%).
Only 6.3% of fans voted for Formula One, but it did rank ahead of the two US single-seater series the Indy Racing League (6.1%) and Champ Car (1.4%).
The poll underlines the general lack of enthusiasm for ‘road racing’ in America – NASCAR and IRL racing is predominantly oval-based and and drag racing is, of course, the art of going in a straight line as quickly as possible.
Formula One has a lot of work to do to repair its reputation in the States after a farcical six-car race in 2005 and the infamous Ferrari ‘dead heat’ in 2002. The presence of American Scott Speed (pictured) may help, but the quality of racing also needs to greatly improve to win over American audiences weaned on high-action sports.
- Star-Telegram.com – ESPN poll reveals the obvious: NASCAR brand the most popular among US viewers (external)