Red Bull reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo explains why F1’s popularity has ‘exploded’ in the US

F1 Grand Prix of USA - Previews
Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Red Bull Racing gets dressed in traditional cowboy clothing in Allens Boots during previews ahead of the United States Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas on October 18, 2018 in Austin, United States. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Image)

Daniel Ricciardo attributed Netflix's Drive to Survive to Formula 1's growing popularity in the United States.

On the Late Night Show with Stephen Colbert, Ricciardo was asked about the popular 'explosion' that the sport has recently seen in the United States and the Australian credited DTS for that. At the same time, he also mentioned that F1 has largely been popular around the world, and that the United States' inclusion was 'inevitable.'

"I think it's the Drive to Survive series on Netflix is kind of blowing up, I think that has put it on the map worldwide... I think like there's part of the world where it's always been big. Like Europe, Formula 1 has always existed for many, many years and there's always been like a cool following there."

Daniel Ricciardo then mentioned that he 'knew' the sport would gain popularity in the United States because of how well sports are taken in the country, and it was just a matter of time before it happened. The boom of popularity the sport witnessed in the past few seasons is mainly because of DTS, he feels. He added:

"I knew like the States, I felt it was inevitable to blow up here because you do sports so well and it was just a matter of time but I think it accelerated through this Drive to Survive show now."

Netflix's Drive to Survive went on air in 2019 right before the season began. It covered the 2018 season in a 'docudrama' style and was appreciated worldwide. Since then, there has been a surge in the fanbase of the sport, especially from the United States. The 2023 season is prepared to have three US GPs; Texas, Miami, and Las Vegas on the calendar.

What opportunities does Daniel Ricciardo have in the upcoming season of Formula 1?

After having his contract with McLaren canceled after the end of the 2022 season, Daniel Ricciardo was left without a permanent seat. There were speculations about the Australian driving for either Williams or Haas, however, later statements from him made it clear that he was not thinking of stepping into a low-performing team. It was assumed that he would be out of the sport in 2023 and perhaps make a comeback in 2024.

However, out of the blue, Red Bull announced that they were signing Ricciardo back into the team as a reserve driver (he was a permanent driver until the 2019 season).

While this does not mean that Daniel Ricciardo will surely have a chance of racing against others in 2023, it could open up more opportunities for him, such as getting into a much more competitive team and perhaps getting back to winning ways.

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Edited by Viraj Vaz
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