ESPN releases massive viewer numbers for F1 Miami Grand Prix

Formula 1 has seen tremendous growth over the past few seasons, particularly in the United States. The popularity of the Netflix docuseries “Drive to Survive” along with the expansion of the F1 calendar to three races in the United States — including last season’s debut Las Vegas Grand Prix — has helped create a new generation of F1 fans in America.

But with Max Verstappen and Red Bull continuing to dominate the field, would these new fans stay with the sport? And will the ratings follow?

According to figures just released by ESPN for this past weekend’s Miami Grand Prix, they will.

As announced by ESPN on Tuesday, the race viewership for Sunday’s Miami Grand Prix was the biggest audience in F1 history in the United States. “ABC’s telecast of the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix on Sunday, May 5, attracted the largest live U.S. television audience on record for F1 as an average of 3.1 million viewers watched Lando Norris beat reigning World Champion Max Verstappen to capture his first F1 win,” noted the network in a press release Tuesday morning.

As noted by the announcement, fans were able to see Norris secure his maiden F1 victory, holding off Verstappen in the closing laps for the win.

ESPN also noted that viewership shattered previous records here in the United States.

“The race-only viewership (3:55 – 5:30 p.m. ET) shattered the previous F1 record of 2.6 million viewers that was set for the inaugural Miami Grand Prix in 2022. Viewership was up 48 percent over last year’s race, which attracted 2.1 million viewers. The Miami Grand Prix now has the top three live U.S. television audiences in Formula 1 history,” noted ESPN.

The network also made it clear that coverage of Saturday’s F1 Sprint Race — the first time the Miami Grand Prix was included on the Sprint Race calendar — set a new record for that format. “F1 Sprint race on Saturday averaged 946,000 viewers on ESPN, the largest audience for a Sprint race since F1 introduced the format in 2021. The previous high was 883,000 for Azerbaijan in 2023. Saturday’s F1 qualifying on ESPN averaged 625,000 viewers.”

As we noted heading into the Miami Grand Prix, one of the biggest storylines entering the event was the performance of the sport in the United States. As F1 continues to try and expand in the United States, would viewers follow, especially if Verstappen continues to dominate the field?

If these numbers are any indication, they sure will.

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