SPEEDWAY, Ind. — Last week, many racing fans around the world and within the United States paid lots of attention to Formula One’s new race around the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.
The race, won by Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen, appeared to be a smashing success in both in-person attendance, as well as TV ratings. The race drew the largest US-based TV audience ever for a race held in the US with over 2.6 million people tuning in.
The event has also put Indy car racing under the microscope, with many wondering if Formula One’s growing popularity in the US is either a good thing or a bad thing for the sport of Indy car racing.
“It’s probably mixed to be real transparent about it,” said Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Doug Boles taking to JMV on 93.5 and 107.5 The Fan. “Any kind of motorsports on some level is good for all of motorsports. If people are interested in racing that’s helpful.”
Team Penske driver Josef Newgarden was in agreement with Boles’ feelings ahead of the Grand Prix of Long Beach earlier in the season.
“The momentum on the Formula One side has been undeniable for the last couple of years,” said IndyCar Team Penske driver Josef Newgarden. “It’s continuing to impact here in the United States probably more than anywhere else in the world, which, I think, in a lot of ways is good to see.”
Formula One is staging two races in the United States this season: the aforementioned Miami Grand Prix run two weeks ago and the regularly scheduled United States Grand Prix later this season at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
But, F1 will be staging a third race in the US next season on the streets of Las Vegas.
The question being asked is whether F1 running more races in the US is in any way an affront to IndyCar’s growth.
“F1 trying to have one or two races in the US is not necessarily a bad thing,” Boles added. “I think if they were trying to have five or ten races in the US it would be a struggle for us.”
The good news is it’s not likely Formula One will ever plan to stage that many races in the US. However, the cause for concern is not entirely unfounded with F1 already staging races in Mexico City and in Montreal, Canada.
The addition of F1 races in Miami and Las Vegas, along with the USGP now makes it five F1 races in North America.
Still, Boles and his team at IMS have taken to learning from Formula One and their North American events.
“We learn a lot from each other. We sent a group of people down to the Miami race to see how things were set up, at the invitation of the folks who promote that race,” said Boles. “We invite them to come here and share best practices.”
“You certainly get a little territorial when it’s your event, IndyCar right? But, at the same time, you hope that they can succeed because if they succeed then the sport succeeds.”
Recently, IMS owner Roger Penske met with the President of the FIA, Mohammed bin Sulayem. The FIA is the international sanctioning body of Formula One and other international racing entities.
Though the conversation is said to have been geared towards possibly bringing World Endurance Championship racing to Indianapolis, it has spurned speculation that IMS is open to bringing Formula One back into the fold.
Boles said there has not been much dialogue with F1 on the notion since 2020 when there was a possibility IMS might serve as a substitute location for F1 races. He says they continue to keep the IMS road course a Grade One level circuit in order to keep the possibility on the table.