The student news site of Stone Bridge High School

The Bulldog Tribune

The student news site of Stone Bridge High School

The Bulldog Tribune

The student news site of Stone Bridge High School

The Bulldog Tribune

Lights Out and Away We Go

Formula 1’s Expansion into the US
F1 Instagram

The popular motorsport Formula 1 (F1) is cruising into popularity at unprecedented speeds in the United States, with the highly anticipated Las Vegas Grand Prix taking place on Nov. 18, as well as famous celebrities and athletes beginning to dip their toes into the sport. 

F1 racing, which began in the 1950s, is composed of 10 constructors (teams), each with two drivers. Between the months of March and November, the teams complete 20 races, called Grand Prix, to compete for the title of Formula One World Champion for drivers and Formula One Constructors’ Championship for teams at the end of the season. To win either title, a driver or team must gain the most points across each race. 

The extreme sport is seeing an increase in popularity amongst younger fans. A Nielsen Insights study found that 46% of viewers are aged 34 and below, likely due to its newfound exposure to social media.

“I learned more about F1 by watching social media posts of the racers and their cars,” senior Sofia Stanziola said. 

Both the official F1 Instagram and drivers’ personal accounts have millions of followers. The official F1 Instagram currently sits at 24.8 million followers, and last year’s Formula One World Champion, Max Verstappen, has 10.7 million followers. Runners-up Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez have 12.7 million and 6.3 million, respectively. Other popular drivers, including 7-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton, also have massive followings, with Hamilton’s Instagram following coming in at a cool 35.1 million followers. 

The rise of Formula 1 has led to an increase in funding for more races within the US. The highly-anticipated, first Las Vegas Grand Prix is set for Nov. 18, leading to an expected $1.2 billion boost for the economy of Las Vegas. 

“This is one of the most aggressive programs of construction and design I’ve seen, certainly in Vegas, as well as sports,” project manager for the Las Vegas Grand Prix Terry Miller said in an interview.

The costs for the Grand Prix includes an investment of $560 million dollars for infrastructure, 39 acres to build on, 3.5 miles of repaved Vegas streets, as well as VIP tickets with costs of up to $8,000 per person. The construction of the Paddock Building began in fall 2022, housing the 20 team garages. The repavement of Vegas’ streets began in April of this year.

I learned more about F1 by watching social media posts of the racers and their cars.

— Sofia Stanziola

“My favorite team is Red Bull Racing and my favorite driver is Max Verstappen,” sophomore Katie Helge said. “He is really good and thrilling to watch.” 

Teens and students aren’t the only fans of Formula 1. Numerous celebrities have invested into the Alpine F1 team, including Kansas City Chiefs players Travis Kelce and Patrick Mahomes, PGA golfer Rory McIlroy, and actors Michael B. Jordan and Ryan Reynolds. 

Beyond monetary stakes, other actors are investing into the stories of Formula 1. Actors Brad Pitt and Damson Idris are co-starring in an upcoming film about the sport. The film is being made by driver Lewis Hamilton’s company Dawn Apollo Films, with Hamilton also set to produce. The film was seen filming at July’s Silverstone Grand Prix in England alongside Hamilton before halting due to the recently ended SAG-AFTRA strike.

This weekend’s Las Vegas Grand Prix is the second-to-last race of the 2023 season. Current champion Max Verstappen is slated to receive the World Champion title for the fourth time with his teammate Sergio Perez in second place. Lewis Hamilton currently holds third place in the driver standings. Anxious fans will just have to wait and see what the final two races of the year hold for their favorite drivers and teams.

About the Contributor
Maddie Willinger, Staff Writer
Maddie Willinger is a senior, and a first year at the "Bulldog Tribune". She is an officer in Girl Up, EdRising, SBHS’s chapter of The Launch Project, and a Cappies Critic. Maddie loves to keep up with pop culture, and can be found reading Taylor Jenkins Reid books, watching new movies to log on her Letterboxd, or listening to Taylor Swift way too often.