Formula 1 must work had to prove itself in North America when the championship returns to the United States, according to McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh.
Austin, Texas, has secured a multi-year deal that will see grand prix racing return to the United States for the first time since 2007 from the 2012 season. Whitmarsh said all teams recognize the importance of being successful in America and are willing to return there after failing to turn the Indianapolis races into a big success in the past. However, he made it clear that, unlike some other new venues, the U.S. does not need Formula 1, and that it is the sport that will need to prove itself in the country if it is to prove successful over the years.
"I think what is being clear now is that all of the teams very much want to support the development of Formula 1 in North America," said Whitmarsh. "It's exciting to go to Korea or India or some of those places, but we recognize that a large market is North America.
"We recognize that Formula 1 collectively – and I'm not pointing fingers here – hasn't made a success of North America, and I think what's important this time is not so much the venue, but that when Formula 1 returns to America we are there for a sustained period of time. Maybe it's more than one race – maybe it's two different venues, but I think the teams have got to commit to sending cars over there; perhaps a cavalcade of cars through Times Square or Sunset Boulevard. We have to go to America and market ourselves.
"I think Formula 1 is used to being poured into markets that want us badly there. North America, frankly, doesn't need Formula 1, so I think it's for us to go an prove to North America that this is an interesting sport and spectacle and something that it's worthwhile them taking an interest in."