The race for a Formula 1 championship has come down to a title-deciding season finale for the first time since 1974.
The head-to-head battle in Abu Dhabi on Sunday between Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull driver Max Verstappen presents a unique opportunity for F1 as it gains popularity in the U.S.
- Across ESPN, ESPN 2, and ABC, F1 is averaging 947,000 viewers this year — a 56% increase year-over-year.
- This season’s U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, recorded a 42% increase in viewership compared to 2019’s race.
- F1 makes its way back to the U.S. in May for the first-ever Miami Grand Prix at Hard Rock Stadium.
- The auto racing championship wants to bring races to more cities across the U.S., including Las Vegas, and potentially a “dream” race in Manhattan.
Liberty Media — which also owns the Atlanta Braves and SiriusXM — acquired F1 for $4.6 billion in 2017. The company posted $2.2 billion in revenue in Q3 2021, a 9% increase year-over-year.
Its F1 segment generated $668 million in revenue during the quarter, up from $597 million in revenue in Q3 2020.
A win in Abu Dhabi would give Hamilton a record eight F1 championships, surpassing racing legend Michael Schumacher. A title for Verstappen would be the 24-year-old’s first in F1.