With the 2020 edition canceled due to Covid, this weekend’s United States Grand Prix will be the first F1 race held in the U.S. since the start of what is pretty clearly a boom period for the sport here.
Thanks at least in part to the popularity of Netflix’s excellent Drive to Survive docuseries, American television ratings have boomed, which is a big win for ESPN considering their current deal. ESPN’s coverage is simply a simulcast of the Sky Sports broadcast, which is usually made up of British and European voices.
This weekend, though, that Sky team will include an American, as Sky announced Danica Patrick will join for the weekend.
Patrick, of course, drove in IndyCar and NASCAR during her career, and has broadcasting experience with NBC as well.
Via Sky Sports:
Motor racing icon Danica Patrick is joining Sky Sports F1 for her home United States GP this weekend.
Patrick, widely renowned as the most successful woman in the history of American open-wheel racing, will be part of our bumper punditry team providing analysis on all the action from Austin, Texas.
She will be part of our presentation and punditry team this weekend at the United States GP, alongside Jenson Button and Martin Brundle.
Patrick, for her part, says she’s been closely following this season’s epic title race between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton:
“I’m really excited,” said Patrick, one of motorsport’s greatest-ever female drivers, who called time on a remarkable career in 2018.
“I love the fact that we’ve got Lewis trying to be the GOAT with most wins, most poles and most championships, and he’s really looking to win his eighth, against someone who’s young, hungry and just dying to make that not happen for him. It’s been so interesting to watch.”
Patrick will be a welcome addition to the team, and a nice conduit for potentially new American audiences who would consider tuning in for the home race.
It is worth noting that for all the gains F1 has made in the United States this year, the U.S. Grand Prix itself starts at 3 PM ET on Sunday, up against the NFL schedule. That could be tough sledding from a viewership perspective for a sport that normally has little opposition for American broadcast windows, though the race itself is sold out.