Charlotte’s always been a NASCAR town, but that’s changing with Formula 1’s rise in popularity.
The big picture: Formula 1 is racing at its finest, featuring the most elite cars in the world. But before the Netflix docuseries “Drive to Survive” premiered, the sport was hardly talked about in the U.S.
- Now, with the show in its fourth season, F1 viewership is soaring and more U.S.-based races have been recently announced.
- Many Americans are rooting for the home team: North Carolina’s own, Haas.
Why it matters: The only American team in Formula 1 is in our backyard.
- In 2014, NASCAR team owner Gene Haas founded his namesake F1 team in Kannapolis, just 21 miles north of Charlotte along I-85.
- He named Mooresville resident and motorsports veteran Guenther Steiner team principal.
“It’s fantastic to see,” Steiner tells Axios when asked about F1’s booming stateside presence. “Being an American team, it’s even more exciting for us.”
State of play: After a rough 2021 season, Haas is having a good season so far. The team is ranked 5th after the first two Grand Prix races. And their top driver, Kevin Magnussen, is ranked 8th out of 20 drivers.
My thought bubble: I’m not a big sports person, but racing won me over when I moved to Charlotte six years ago. I especially love F1 because:
- It’s fast-paced (drivers go 200+ miles per hour) and each race is only about 90 minutes.
- A majority of the Grand Prix races take place overseas, so they air on Sunday mornings, meaning I can watch while still in pajamas.
- And the Netflix series gave me an inside look at the teams, principals like Steiner and the drivers, so I feel like I know who I’m rooting for.
How to watch: So I’ve convinced you to give F1 a try, but what’s the best way to get into it?
- Start with Netflix’s series and binge-watch a few episodes to get a feel for how the sport works.
- Watch an upcoming Grand Prix. The Australian Grand Prix is this weekend with the race airing Sunday at 1am (sounds like a fun Saturday night to me). Full schedule here. Subscribe to F1 TV for $26.99 per year to watch all the races.
- Follow Queen City F1 on Instagram for info on watch parties. There’s also chatter on Reddit about F1 watch parties around town.
Steiner tells me Haas doesn’t have any fan events planned as of yet, but it’s something they’re considering. In the meantime, he says, “Just switch on the TV and root for us.”
- Always remember, Steiner adds: “We are the local team.”
Go deeper: Formula 1 comes to America