F1 urged to invest in 'untapped' American market

Williams investor Brad Hollinger believes Formula 1's leaders should make a more concerted effort to tap into the potential offered by the United States

F1 urged to invest in 'untapped' American market

American Hollinger is now the second largest shareholder at Williams with 15 per cent after acquiring the final five per cent owned by Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff.

The healthcare entrepreneur is convinced the arrival of Haas on the grid will aid F1's cause in the US from this season, but he feels more should be done, particularly after this year's Austin race was only confirmed on Wednesday.

"Formula 1 is quite strong right now [in the US]," said Hollinger

"It is in a transformative era, with huge growth opportunities internationally, but even more so in the United States.

"When you think of the success of Formula 1, without a meaningful penetration in the US, that portends well.

"There is huge untapped opportunity in the US.

"Obviously having a US team on the grid will create more exposure, I believe, in the United States, and is one of the first giant leaps forward in a long time for F1 in the US.

"I believe it will accelerate Formula 1's penetration in the US market that is significant to most multi-national firms, and is rich in potential viewerships."

Hollinger believes a race on the east coast or return to the west coast is long overdue given the "huge population bases" of both areas.

"Somewhere around New York where they contemplated a few years ago or in the LA basin area, that would be a huge shot in the arm for the sport," he added.

"But there is, and will continue to be, untapped opportunities, and I am hopeful the leadership in Formula 1 will make an even more concerted effort to penetrate the US market."

Given his expanding presence in F1, Hollinger would be willing to lend a hand in facilitating the possibility of such a race.

"I can't say I have experience in sponsoring major sporting events, however, I am happy to assist in anyway I can," said Hollinger.

"I would certainly be a strong proponent in helping, not only with the Williams team, but also the Formula 1 programme in general if I was asked."

Hollinger has not ruled out further increasing his stake in Williams should the chance arise.

Williams CEO Mike O'Driscoll, however, said Sir Frank Williams "has no intention of relinquishing control", with his shareholding at a fraction over 52 per cent, with close to a further four per cent in an employee trust.

There is scope for Hollinger to purchase more, however, as just under 21 per cent is traded on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, while Williams co-founder Sir Patrick Head has just over nine per cent.

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