Visitors from all over the world packed into "Circuit of the Americas" Saturday for the Formula One qualifying race and Taylor Swift's concert.
Last year's F1 race in Austin attracted more than 96-million viewers. But only about one million of them were from the United States. With big pop stars like Taylor Swift and Usher taking the stage at "Circuit of the Americas" this year, Formula One is hoping to attract a larger American audience in the future.
This is the fifth year Formula One has visited Austin's "Circuit of the Americas," but for many who have never been to the track before, there was a different reason to visit, Taylor Swift. Annabel Furlong is a Taylor Swift fan, "Bringing in musicians definitely helps because people have heard about music more than car racing so if they're like 'Oh there's music here' they'll go and they'll see like 'Oh my gosh there's car racing too,'" she said.
Taylor Swift's concert Saturday night drew in a younger crowd than previous years at the US Grand Prix, something Formula One has struggled with in the United States. Bill Furlong is an F1 fan, "It certainly worked for us in terms of family gatherings having Taylor Swift here is a huge plus the girls when they announced Taylor Swift was coming I said 'Hey want to go see Taylor Swift? It's happening at the F1 race in Austin' and that took about 3 seconds for them to say yes," he said. Yes to going was an answer for many girls. "Because I love her songs and she's a really good singer, and I just love her," Furlong said. "Taylor, that is a really smart move by them especially since she's not doing any other shows this year, so they've got the market cornered but I think by bringing in a mainstream artist or name they can definitely garner more buzz around the event in general," said Sierra Gaw, a Taylor Swift fan.
F1 driver Sergio Perez from Mexico had some other ideas to get more support in the states. "One of the differences are that we have a driver and they seem to follow it more the fans and now when we go to my home race the fans are really enthusiastic because they want to support the driver but they also like the support so I think having an American driver would be nice for the sport as well but I think also engaging with the fans by having more races and so on would be really nice," he said.
The US Grand Prix at "Circuit of the Americas" is currently the only F1 race in the United States. For the first time in three decades, an all-American led F1 team joined the lineup at the Formula One World Championship. But that doesn't mean an American driver will be behind the wheel.