Three-time World Champion Jackie Stewart says the New Jersey Grand Prix is just what Formula 1 needs, and reckons the sport needs more races in America. But the Scot admitted he was "confused" by the situation in Austin, which is scheduled to host the United States Grand Prix on its new Circuit of the Americas next year.
"I think it [New Jersey GP] is great, but I am a little bit confused – there seems to be a sudden silence about Austin," said Stewart in India on Thursday. "I haven't heard a world about Austin for months now. I am assuming that it is still very much on, but you would have thought with only 12 months to go there would be something going on.
"New Jersey is near New York, so therefore each state wants to have its own big deal. I have been to Pocono, and it is not the Garden State, but nevertheless it is near one of the biggest metropolises of the world.
"It is great. We needed more in the Americas and I think it is right to have more than one in America, I don't mean North America, because we have Canada, but the U.S. It is totally justified. Mercedes-Benz without the American market couldn't continue, and the same applies to Ferrari."
Stewart believes, however, that it is vital that the United States has a successful F1 driver in order for the sport to become popular.
"The thing in America is the culture is very domestic. NASCAR, IndyCar and sprint car racing are still the domestic motorsports of the U.S., and the country is extraordinarily domestic. They don't travel, Americans by nature, I think only 11 percent of the nation has a passport, and there are no American F1 drivers.
"The market is domestic, but as soon as Lance Armstrong did the Tour de France and won it, cycling was OK. When Mario [Andretti] was running, I was with ABC [TV], and that year I did 25 races, not only F1, I did a lot more because Mario Andretti was winning the World Championship.
"So, it needs an American driver. That is something that we all recognize and there are good American drivers, but there is not kindergarten, primary school, secondary school not University the way there is in Europe for motorsport."