Red Bull drivers excited by F1’s US expansion

Sergio Perez drives an RB7 in Miami last December

This weekend’s Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix is the first of two events to be held in the United States as it expands its presence in the world’s largest economy.

The sport’s commercial rights holders are looking to capitalise on the booming interest that surrounds F1, largely thanks to the Drive to Survive Netflix series.

Next year, the sport will head to Las Vegas in an event Liberty Media itself will promote as it further looks to cash in.

“I love racing in Austin so it’s fun that we get to go to another state and race this year,” said Max Verstappen.

“It’s exciting to see Formula 1 getting much bigger in the US, F1 and the teams are working hard to promote the sport in the US and we’re having more and more races here, so step by step we are making it more popular.

“I also think it helps now the cars are finding it easier to follow and overtake each other and more teams are competing for wins, I think that’s the most important thing for the fans,” he noted.

“I hope that it’s going to be an exciting weekend, Miami is a really nice city and I think it’s a really interesting location to hold a Grand Prix, I think not only the drivers are excited, but the fans too.”

Verstappen sits second in the drivers’ standings after recording a second career grand chelem at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix last time out.

Uniquely, that included maximum points from Sprint Qualifying, leaving the Dutchman’s tally at 34 points for the weekend.

Team-mate Sergio Perez has already visited the Miami International Autodrome and taken to the streets of the Florida city at the wheel of an F1 car last December.

With the event not far from his native Mexico, the 32-year-old is expecting strong support from fans.

“I am excited to be heading to Miami this week, it is great that the calendar is expanding more in America, which is a lot closer to home for me and one day I might end up living there,” he said.

“It is a great market for Formula 1 and I am sure there will be a lot of Latin Americans and Mexicans at the race, so hopefully I get a lot of support and it will be a very important race for the team both on and off the track.

“These busier races are hard to manage but the team do an incredible job at making sure Max and I can focus on our driving.”

Having sampled the track on the simulator in the build up to this weekend’s race, Perez enjoyed the challenge of the temporary facility.

“I found the new circuit fun on the simulator and it can potentially be a good place for racing with those very long straights, I think choosing the right downforce level will be the biggest challenge for all the teams,” he explained.

“I am now fighting for poles and podiums every week, which is great motivation to keep pushing and keep focus.

“I just want more week after week, and I am looking forward to seeing what we can do in Miami.”

Free Practice 1 in Miami gets underway at 04:30 AEST on Saturday.