We could argue about the origin of Grand Prix racing and the French could have a very good case but in modern times there is little question that the United Kingdom is the proper home of Formula One. It has evolved from gentlemen racers to the juggernaut it is today by British ingenuity, know-how, innovation and resources. The DNA of Grand Prix racing is obvious and when it does talk, it speaks with an English accent.
That isn't intended to marginalize efforts made by other nations to the series of Formula One and its feeder series such as GP2 and GP3. In fact, many innovations in technology used in F1 have come from America and several of the teams use products designed and manufactured in the US. Contributions from nations all around the world have never been a tangible as the professional drivers they have sent to the sport to represent their country and one need look no further than Brazil's Ayrton Senna and that passion he had for his nation.
His success was inexorably tied to the passion and hope of an entire nation and so too was Mario Andretti, Michael Schumacher, Jack Brabham, Alain Prost, Niki Lauda, Phil hill, Dan Gurney, Juan Manuel Fangio and many, many more.
With the Austin Grand Prix coming soon, no wonder the British Consul, Andrew Millar, in Houston, Texas, found a moment to share his British pride at the thought of the country's premier racing series making another impact on the American psyche:
"The UK is the birthplace of modern motorsport. We are the leader in Formula One international racing technology, drawing on a wealth of world class design, precision and high-performance engineering companies and acclaimed R&D," Millar's statement said. "We're enormously excited by the opportunity to showcase this over the Grand Prix race weekend.
"The UK has a long track record of success in worldwide motorsport racing and true passion for the sport. We're excited to be sharing some of that with our friends in Austin and Texas more widely."
A statement like this can have a tendency to sound a bit bravado-laden to Americans. In fact, Americans can be very fickle when it comes to Formula One. We have many sports to keep us occupied and most of them don't include the world's two largest sport, football (soccer) and formula One. However, if you understand Mr. Millar's mission to the United States, the context becomes more clear.
Mr. Millar works for the British Consul in Houston and his goal is to foster prosperity, education, security as well as culture and tourism. America and Britain have been terrific allies for decades and while we may differ on some topics, our ability to be frank, speak with kindness and seek commonality have always stood the test of time. Mr. Millar is excited about the prospects of Britain's premier racing series coming to Texas to showcase just what a marvelous sport it is and to create more synergy between the state of Texas and the United Kingdom.
In short, he's right. He has every reason to be proud of what the UK has created in Formula One and there is little question of that but what he may also be correct about is America's dedication to Formula One through commerce, production and design. Many American companies support the series through their products and services such as brakes, safety devices, electronics and many other components such as carbon fiber and aerodynamic innovations.
While Millar is gloating over UK's premier racing series landing in Texas, perhaps the sport itself represents the most tangible example of his political mission in the United States...a series born in Britain with American investment and commerce leading to prosperity and jobs between both nations. It's a symbiotic relationship that benefits both nations and now we hope that American fans can appreciate the series in Austin for what it represents in sporting interest and entertainment as well as political and financial interest in the infrastructure of the very sport who's DNA resides somewhere in hearts of terrific people who created it in the United Kingdom.
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