US market a risky tightrope for Formula 1 - Marchionne

ยฉ XPB 

Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne supports F1's efforts to further penetrate the US market but not at the expense of the sport's valuable heritage.

The Fiat-Chrysler boss recognizes the massive opportunity linked to the US audience as Formula 1 works to add at least a second race in America in the future.

But Marchionne also believes F1 should tread lightly in the US, and think long and hard about its approach to the country's fan base.

"I think itโ€™s fair to say that Chase (Carey) and I agree we need space in the United States," Marchionne told the media last weekend in Italy as Alfa Romeo confirmed is partnership with Sauber.

"I think there is an opportunity here, if we do the things right, to make this a relevant sport in the U.S. environment. And if we do that I think it will benefit the sport tremendously.

"But I put a big proviso on this. We need to be careful that this desire to make us attractive to the American public doesnโ€™t end up sapping away the DNA of a sport that has some noble origins."

Marchionne admitted he wasn't all that enthusiastic about Formula 1's pre-race build-up show before this year's race, which he felt wasn't in phase with the sport's iconic image.

"I think we need to preserve it, we need to modernise it in a way which Americans find relevant," said the Italian-Canadian manager.

"And thatโ€™s the tricky part that I think Chase and I need to walk. Weโ€™re walking a tightrope on this because if we go too far to try and appeal...

"The performance down in Austin and the way in which we arranged the show was not what I think a Formula One event ought to be.

"But it was part of a trial and error exercise, I donโ€™t think it worked incredibly well.

"I think a lot of the Europeans were somewhat taken aback by what happened. We need to find a halfway house that somehow appeases and actually enhances the interest of the public on both sides of the pond."

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