Texas success, Bernie eyes LA next
EVERYONE IS HAPPY: F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is pleased with the recent US GP in Texas and is eager to add more US races to the sport's calendar.
Author: Steve Keating
AUSTIN, Texas - Lewis Hamilton claimed the victory and Red Bull clinched the Constructor's title, but the biggest winner at the US Grand Prix was Formula 1 with commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone immediately calling for more races in America.
Ecclestone said: "The future of F1 in the USA? I think we'll finish with three races here within the next three years. If you tried to plan this, to have the (title) race finish in Brazil, you couldn't have done a better job.
TRIUMPHANT RETURN TO USA
"Everybody is very happy here. The governor's happy, they're all happy. You feel good when you've done something that works."
On a busy sporting Sunday with a full slate of National Football League action and Nascar crowning its champion in Florida, the US GP held its own, delivering gripping drama as F1 made a rousing return to America following a five-year absence.
Circuit of the Americas, the United States's only purpose-built F1 track carved spectacularly out of the south Texas scrublands, provided a magnificent stage as McLaren's Hamilton out-raced championship contenders Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso for the win.
A capacity crowd of almost 120 000 flooded into F1’s newest venue on a sun-splashed day to cap off weekend of partying that had attracted jet-setters and A-listers along with the political and business elite to the quirky Texas capital.
Among those spotted roaming the paddock were Mexico president Felipe Calderon, Texas governor Rick Perry, movie mogul George Lucas, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and director Ron Howard, who is about to release a F1-themed movie.
Conspicuously absent was Austin's most famous sportsman, disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, who kept a low profile with the world's media at his doorstep.
Although all conceded there was much work to be done before the series can claim a firm foothold in the US, many hailed Sunday's race as the start of a new era for F1 in a market it is determined to conquer.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said: "I think they have done a great job here. The track is fantastic. I think we saw a great race today and the enthusiasm from the fans and the public and the town has been tremendous. It looks like F1 has been a big hit here in Texas.
"We just have to make sure we continue to put on a good show. You can see the enthusiasm there is for F1 it would be great at some point to have another race in the States, which is obviously under discussion."
F1 teams up and down the Austin paddock could not hide their delight at being back in the US, while Ecclestone found a new-found enthusiasm for a market he had once dismissed.
Plans to put a race in New Jersey in 2013 were postponed when local organisers said they could not be ready in time but Ecclestone remained confident that the event will find a place on the 2014 schedule while tossing out Los Angeles as another serious possibility.
Hamilton said: "It's been a great weekend, the fans have been amazing this weekend.
"The warm welcome we've had has been fantastic and I think this is probably one of the best, if not the best grand prix we've had all year, especially for me and my team, this is so special."