- United States Grand Prix
Austin proving sceptics wrong - AndrettiChris Medland at the Circuit of the Americas November 17, 2013 « Kovalainen aiming higher than P8 | Lotus made the right choice - Valsecchi »
Mario Andretti says the success of the United States Grand Prix is proving a lot of sceptics wrong.
The project to build Circuit of the Americas in order to host the race was blighted by political wrangling over state support and contract breaches, but ultimately resulted in a successful debut last year. With Austin building on that success with strong crowds in 2013, Andretti told ESPN exclusively that the event had an "aura" which was tough to achieve for a new venue.
"Obviously you like to improve every year, and quite honestly the success of last year I think is something that should be easy to build on to," Andretti said. "It established itself in the best possible way in just one year when there was considerable scepticism about the event and about everything. I think you've got to give a lot of credit to the way that this event overall has been organised; not just the racing itself but the event. Everything else that is going on to appeal, not just to the aficionados - they're satisfied with the noise and all that - but also to people who just want to be a part of it.
"They have been smart enough, and clever enough to go around - this is something I've suggested - I said 'Go to Abu Dhabi, Monza, Silverstone and see what others are doing and see what appeals to you'. Look at Montreal and the city with how it comes to life and so forth. I think they've done a lot of that and created this aura for the event."
However, Andretti warned that America lacks venues of a similar standard to host a race elsewhere at present.
"I feel very bullish about the future of this venue but let's face it, in America this is it. That's all we've got, as far as all the Taj Mahals in other countries are all over us. On the road racing side, we have some really decent road courses but they've not grown with the times and there hasn't been the investment that is needed to compare and compete with the rest of the world."
Chris Medland is assistant editor at ESPNF1