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F1: Whitmarsh Says F1 “Needs America”

F1: Whitmarsh Says F1 “Needs America”
Written by: SPEED Staff
SPEEDtv.com
03/12/2009 - 12:26 PM
London (GBR)

Mclaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh says that Formula 1 teams need to work harder to secure the return of the US Grand Prix.

Formula 1 must have a presence in North America, according to Martin Whitmarsh (LAT) » More Photos
With the Canadian Grand Prix dropped from the 2009 calendar, this year is the first time in championship history that there will be no race in North America, long lauded as the world's largest car market, and Whitmarsh believes it is time for teams to work out a speedy return to the continent.

Speaking to the website of British magazine Autosport, Whitmarsh said "There's a clear view among FOTA (Formula One Teams' Association) members in the discussions, that we need a Grand Prix in America and we've got to work on how to achieve that."

The Englishman added that FOTA may take a bigger role in defining Formula 1's race schedule in the future.

"The view within FOTA is that we've got to look more strategically to how we develop the calendar.... the calendar for this year was fixed by the time we (FOTA) got going, but
we want to look at where are our major investors and America is a massive challenge. We can't turn our back on it, but maybe we have to have a completely different approach."

"Rather than who's going to give us the most money to rock up and race, it is to go there strategically, perhaps with FOTA offering to support the race, participate, send our drivers on a promotional tour one year before, six months before, to appear on shows and make investment.

Whitmarsh also said that it would be better for Formula 1 if the teams promoted interest themselves, rather than leaving it to the race organisers.

"Rather than leave it in the hands of a promoter, how do we develop the interest? How do we develop the excitement and take up of F1 in North America? Be it Ferrari, be it Daimler, or be it BMW. You look at all of the principle investors in F1; the vast majority of them would consider the US to be a significant market."
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