Former F1 World Champion Mario Andretti believes that the creation of the Circuit of the Americas could serve as the catalyst for a boom in the sport in the USA.
The track in Austin is set to play host to a number of events but is purpose-built for Formula One and Andretti believes that giving F1 a new home in the United States is key to expanding its fan base.
"It's a long time coming to have a facility such as that which is able to host proper road racing," said Andretti told The Globe And Mail.
"We have lots of classic road racing courses in the U.S. and in Canada but, outside of Montreal, many of them just really haven't kept up with the times as far as standards for safety and infrastructure. And a road course part of an oval facility does not work, it does not draw and it does not have the ambience road racing fans look for. Now we have a place where we can showcase the top level of the sport - I think every F1 fan in North America should rejoice."
With a track now taken care of, Andretti feels that the next step to cracking further into the American market will be the presence of a local driver.
"If you can have your own guys flying their own flag in their country, it brings a lot more attention. It always plays well and the more buzz you can create, the better," he mused.