Red Bull team boss Christian Horner sees a potential rivalry between American car companies Ford and General Motors as a positive boost for the popularity of F1 in the United States. According to the Brit, the Netflix series Drive to Survive has already helped to open up the American market, but there is only one way to maintain this popularity.
Ford announced in 2023 that the company would form a “strategic partnership” with Red Bull. Competitor General Motors has now registered as an engine supplier for Formula 1 from 2028 through Andretti Autosport. Andretti is still trying to get on the grid as the eleventh team, but is not yet certain of a place in the premier class. Although it is not yet certain whether the suspected rivalry between Ford and General Motors in Formula 1 will actually take place, Red Bull team boss Horner was asked whether a potential competition between the two American companies could help the popularity of Formula 1 in the United States.
“If GM chooses to become involved, it would ideally be through an existing team,” Horner explained to international media including Speedcafe. ‘I’m sure a battle between Ford and GM (will help with the popularity of F1 in the US, ed.), those brands have huge patriotism in the US, and a huge following. You’re either a Ford fan or a GM fan, and the competition that could bring could be exciting, too.”
Although Horner would like a battle between Ford and General Motors, the Red Bull team boss questions General Motors’ plan to enter Formula 1 through Andretti. ‘Is it their project? Is it Andretti’s project? If it’s a real GM project and their only option to get into F1 turns out to be through an existing team, in the same way that Audi does (via Sauber, ed.), then you’d hope they would do that .’ According to Horner, many teams are also not very happy with the potential arrival of an eleventh team, because ‘it is only recently that many teams are in a better position.’
Horner knows how to maintain popularity in the US
The British team boss also thinks that the long-dreamed of breakthrough in the US is mainly due to the Netflix series Drive to Survive. “When you look at the new fans, you have to recognize that a large percentage of that comes from the Netflix series. It has opened up that market (the US, ed.). That we now have three races there, which would have been unheard of before. “Ford is back in Formula 1, which would have been unthinkable four years ago, and we now have five Fortune 500 companies on our car.”
According to Horner, only one thing is needed to maintain Formula 1 popularity in the US. “The number of fans is growing, the podiums are growing, but I think what Formula 1 needs to make inroads in the US in the long term is competitive American drivers, and a driver who races for wins.” The team boss no longer thinks that it will take very long before this American driver enters Formula 1. “There are more and more drivers coming through the junior racing classes, so it’s just a matter of time.”