IndyCar boss not threatened by F1’s expansion into US

Roger Penskey on the grid. Florida April 2021

Roger Penske is seen on the starting grid before the start of the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Florida April 2021

IndyCar and Indianapolis owner, Roger Penske, sees light in Formula 1 expanding into the United States.

With America being a country with a rich racing heritage and current influence, it only makes sense that Formula 1 will be hosting two new races this season.

In May the sport will be heading the new Miami International Autodrome, a temporary 3.36-mile track constructed around the Hard Rock Stadium that will feature 19 corners.

Fives months later the Circuit of the Americas plays host to the United States Grand Prix.

Next year though, there’ll be a third race in America, Formula 1 announcing that it will be returning to Las Vegas.

Specifically targeting the American audience, the event will be a night race held on a Saturday.

This sudden influence of a new race series in a market already inundated with different types of racing could make any track or event owner worried.

Rather than be concerned about the competition for fans, Penske is taking all the positives out of F1’s advancement and is looking forward to seeing how he could use it to expand IndyCar’s influence.

In an interview with RACER, Penske said: “So I think it will bring more race fans. But we’ll have to compete.

“We have the diversity in IndyCar. We have high-speed ovals; there’s no Formula 1 race where they qualify at 230 miles an hour for 10 miles like we do at Indianapolis, so that’s point number one.

“Number two, we’ve got street circuits, we’ve got road courses, and we’ve got short ovals and medium-size ovals. So I think the differentiation, the diversity of IndyCar, is what makes us a different product.

“They’re looking at trying to have a bigger TV package here, and that’s only good for us. Because if there’s momentum on what the value of the series are, and I look at our TV numbers and their TV numbers are pretty much the same from the standpoint of viewership, I think that’s good for us.”

Spearheaded by Netflix’s F1 series ‘Drive to Survive’, commercial rights holders of Formula 1, Liberty Media, believe that there is a huge commercial market for F1 in America.

This sparked the rumour that they would be looking to buy Indianapolis from Penske in an attempt to grow unhindered in that region. When asked about selling the famous Brickyard, Penske wholeheartedly denied it.

“That’s the dumbest thing I’ve heard,” he said. “Let me tell you this, it doesn’t make any sense to me. You cannot own the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and not have the ability to support IndyCar, or vice versa. IndyCar is nothing without Indianapolis, and we’re all-in.


“There’s not enough money that would even tempt me to sell it. I don’t need to; I’m not in it for the money. I’m in it for because I love the sport, from a competition standpoint, from a marketing standpoint, from a technology standpoint.

“As a family, we’ve taken on the responsibility to maintain the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway and make it better. So once you take one of those parts off the car, you’re not going to run as well. And let me say this: I’m normally not a guy that sells anything. I’m normally a guy that buys things. Right?