Hamilton: F1′s popularity ‘booming’ in US thanks to Netflix ahead of Miami Grand Prix
With the Miami Grand Prix making its debut later this week, Lewis Hamilton had his say on the sport’s growing appeal in the United States.
Lewis Hamilton believes Formula One’s popularity in the United States is “booming” ahead of the inaugural Miami Grand Prix on Sunday.
Miami’s first Grand Prix will take place later this week after the Miami International Autodrome agreed a 10-year contract to stage the race, meaning the United States will host two events in the 2022 season, with Austin, Texas hosting the United States Grand Prix in October, while a Las Vegas Grand Prix will be introduced next year.
Hamilton, who holds the record for most wins in Austin (six), has struggled at the outset of the new campaign, sitting seventh in the driver’s standings after finishing a disappointing 13th at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix last time out.
In an interview with ABC’S Good Morning America, the seven-time drivers’ champion said he was excited to be participating in the USA, highlighting the role of Netflix’s ‘Drive to Survive’ documentary series in boosting the sport’s stateside popularity.
Hamilton: “It’s going to be huge”
“It’s a bit nerve-racking because I think it’s going to be a huge event for us,” he said. “We obviously had the race in Austin, Texas, which has always been amazing. The first race I had out here was Indianapolis in 2007.
“But now, with Netflix’s Drive to Survive series growing, we have two Grands Prix in the States and we have another one in Las Vegas next year, it’s going to be huge.
“I’ve been coming out here for a long time, but never understood why people weren’t into Formula One.
“Everyone knew NASCAR, and obviously there are such huge sporting fans out here and this Netflix show, particularly through the pandemic, has just brought massive awareness to the sport, and now it’s booming.”
Meanwhile, the 37-year-old used his appearance on the show to highlight the launch of his Mission 44 Foundation, which aims to “support, champion and empower young people from underrepresented groups to succeed through narrowing opportunity gaps across society.”
Hamilton said his experience of working in Formula One, an industry in which ethnic minority groups remain severely underrepresented, motivated the foundation’s mission.
“It’s been generally quite a lonely journey. It’s been me and my family. We’re the only black family [in the sport],” he added.
“I’ve been racing 29 years. I’m 37 now, but I’ve been professional for 16 years. I’ve most often been the only person of colour in the room and when I asked the question [why], there was no great feedback or answer to that.
“So we’ve now started Mission 44, which I’ve funded myself, to try and create more representation and support and empowerment for these young, underserved groups.”