During a media availability on Friday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with Fox Sports TV’s NASCAR talent, the group was asked about the increased number of Formula 1 races in the United States and whether its interest could rival that of NASCAR racing.
“This is tailor-made for you,” Bowyer said of Sunday’s preseason Busch Light Clash, which will take place for the second consecutive season on a ¼-mile asphalt oval inside the coliseum. “You have action like the sport’s never had and a format – we take a break and put on a concert for crying out loud.
“I guarantee you I’ll put my money up against this product versus anything F1 brings to the United States.”
Fox Sports’ lap-by-lap announcer Mike Joy, who has been a part of the live broadcast of 43 Daytona 500s, was a bit more nuanced with his comparison.
“I did Formula 1 for Fox from 1998 to 2000 with Derek Bell, a fantastic driver and a great analyst and we had the same 300,000 viewers every week. The rating never varied, whether it was on Fox or Fox Sports Net or however it was positioned,” he said. “It was very hard to grow out of that.
“Certainly, ‘Drive to Survive’ has brought a whole new audience to Formula 1 – people who enjoy reality TV, people who enjoy soap operas. Racing is a soap opera, it’s just different the way it plays out on Sunday.
“Formula 1 is a worldwide phenomenon and I think it’s completely different from NASCAR, especially in regard to the workings within the teams. I think here NASCAR is much more of an every-driver-for-himself structure than Formula 1.”
The “Drive to Survive” docuseries on Netflix has been credited with stirring the interest of F1 racing among the American audience.
F1 held two races in the United States last season – Circuit of the Americas and the Miami Grand Prix – and is adding a third in 2023, with a street race in Las Vegas in November.
According to Nielsen Media Research, F1 races averaged around 1.3 million viewers in the U.S. last season, up from around 965,000 the previous year. F1 has been doing better than NASCAR in some races among viewers in the 18-49 demographic.