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F1 driver - why not an American?

  1. Oct 20, 2008 #1
    F1 drivers can come from GB, Esp, Ger, Bra etc.. why not America? do Amrican people not like speed sports ?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 20, 2008 #2

    mgb_phys

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    Formula 1 cars don't have cup holders ;-)

    Formula 1 isn't as popular in the USA as circuit racing, so there aren't the lower levels / feeder series for people to learn. Some people have moved from Indy Car racing to F1, famously Mario Andretti and more recently Jacques Villeneuve.
    Probably the same reason that American footballers don't go to Europe to play rugby.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2008
  4. Oct 20, 2008 #3

    turbo

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    People in the US like motor-sports. NASCAR is popular in large part because there are lot of small local tracks and divisions that act like feeder programs for the more elite divisions. Someone can start small, racing locally, and perhaps get some recognition and sponsorships if they perform well, and ultimately even get hired as a driver for a major racing team. People can also move up through the ranks to earn places on pit crews, etc. There is a lot of money in NASCAR, and ultimately it is a lot more democratic than F1 in that normal everyday people can work they way into that program if they have the talent, the drive, the good luck, and the skilled crew that can get them into the winner's circle over and over.
     
  5. Oct 20, 2008 #4

    Kurdt

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  6. Oct 20, 2008 #5

    Kurdt

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    I don't know why F1 is considered undemocratic? It has pretty much the same style of drivers working their way up from junior karting series and single seaters in Europe. Admittedly after karting it gets a tad more expensive and so sponsorship is usually required, but isn't that the same everywhere?

    I tend to see America as rather insular with their sport as well. Sometimes it seems there are sports the rest of the world takes part in and then sports the US takes part in. There was once famously reported an American Formula 1 street race where twice as many spectators turned up for a local ostrich race as the F1. That might explain recent lack of interest.
     
  7. Oct 20, 2008 #6

    Borek

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    My bet is that F1 tracks are too difficult for Americans, they are used to go in simple circles.

    No idea why they have troubles with roundabouts then :tongue2:
     
  8. Oct 20, 2008 #7

    mgb_phys

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    I was going to say that F1 often uses street circuits and F1 cars don't have sat nav but that seemed cruel.
     
  9. Oct 20, 2008 #8
    Spectators and TV programming pay the bills for racing. Typically at most oval tracks the spectators can see the entire track. Americans are to impatient to wait until the cars come into view before they can see who is in the lead.

    Edit: Car sponsors want their cars to be seen all of the time, not just at certain points along the race course.
     
  10. Oct 20, 2008 #9

    turbo

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    I watched F1 races on TV years ago - from Watkins Glen.
    http://grandprix.com/gpe/cir-074.html

    We still have CART events, etc, but all that has been greatly overshadowed by NASCAR - huge stadiums packed to the rafters with people spending (over-spending) on tickets, refreshments, travel, lodging, souvenirs, etc. NASCAR's fan base is rabid, and often irrational. I was at a car dealership one day about 10 years ago getting a timing belt changed in my Pathfinder, and I was "treated" to an hour-long argument between the parts manager and the service manager about the merits of Ford vs Chevy, and they kept referring to NASCAR wins in each brand to "back up" their claims. After a bit, I interrupted them and reminded them that the beasts on the track bear NO resemblance to their street cars, so it was pretty pointless to base their comparisons of the brands on NASCAR results. They both looked at me like I had 3 eyes.

    OK, back to my magazine while they went back to their totally irrational bickering.
     
  11. Oct 20, 2008 #10

    Kurdt

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    I tried watching NASCAR once but I personally can't see the appeal of a couple of hundred laps of an oval. I'll just add actually that the number of US drivers is probably misleading since most probably took part in the indy 500 when that was part of the F1 championship for a decade.
     
  12. Oct 20, 2008 #11
    I'm an American, I find absolutely no interest in Nascar. F1 is amazing to watch on TV, but after going to a few events in my area at similar tracks (road racing at Gingerman and Mid-Ohio) I agree that i loses some live-action interest due to only being able to see say, turn 5. And at F1 speeds thats fairly antieventful.

    I will say though that kart racing (real karts, not go-karts) for Solo I/II is absolutely amazing to drive. And if I was smaller, lighter and had started earlier in my life (and had some more money) I would have definitely given a shot at the career.
     
  13. Oct 20, 2008 #12
    I watch and go to many kinds of racing events. My favorite is the homegrown 1/4 mile races. I also follow NHRA, CART, Indy, motorcycle, Nascar{now thats a party event} and F1.
     
  14. Oct 20, 2008 #13
    :approve:

    Maybe there are more, wilder crashes in NASCAR? :rolleyes:
     
  15. Oct 20, 2008 #14

    turbo

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    I don't like watching NASCAR races, but some people I know are fans, in part because they get into the minutia. NASCAR has LOTS of rules that handicap these cars to try to keep them on a more-or-less equal footing across brands and teams, and the adjustments made for some tracks make for lots of tight packs. Team-mates may battle one another, but often end up running interference, swapping drafts to conserve fuel, etc. Then there are times when some drivers have their cars set up a bit loose, and their opponents will draft them closely to loosen them up more and make them back off the throttle to stay in control on turns. I just don't get excited about all that.

    Part of the NASCAR appeal is that (as edward pointed out) fans can often follow their favorites most or all of the way around the track and in and out of the pits. This makes for large live crowds. It is far more satisfying to watch F1 on TV, since good producers can keep track of competitions, and give you (the home viewer) shots of the places where passes are most likely, etc. I don't know if I'd go watch F1 live because of that, though a friend of mine got a spectacular shot of the underside of an airborne F1 car during the Montreal race many years back - that was in the '70s when Watkins Glen was still active, and he used to hit events at both of those as often as possible. I spent my weekends at the drags shooting my buddy and some of his competition. Ever see a 340 Duster pull 2-foot+ wheel-stands off the line? He was national champ in his class for at least a couple of years.
     
  16. Oct 20, 2008 #15
    my dad turns on nascar for the last 1/2 hour of the race. He says the first bit doesnt really matter.
    I imagine the situation to come down to money as it always does. For example here in Canada we are not really competitive with our horses. Its not for lack of interest, but lack of money and horses that can compete at a national level. I was impressed with my country during the olympics. Lots of great riders just dont have the money to get competitive
     
  17. Oct 20, 2008 #16

    Kurdt

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    Money is certainly a factor for a lot of people. My parents couldn't afford to take me karting even when you can pay by the hour to use their equipment. :cry:
     
  18. Oct 20, 2008 #17
    I mucked 24 stalls every day for 1 lesson a week
     
  19. Oct 20, 2008 #18

    Kurdt

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    If only go-karts pooped.
     
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