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Heikki Kovalainen is confident that this weekend's U.S. GP will prove a success because the sport now 'knows how to put on a show'.
After a five-year absence Stateside, and seven years after the ruinous 2005 U.S. GP in which just six cars participated, F1 will return to America this week for the first grand prix to be staged at the purpose-built Circuit of Americas in Texas.
In the words of Ferrari, 'it's true to say that the USA has not always taken to Formula 1' and this week's venue is the tenth to stage a U.S. GP. Yet the importance of the event cannot be overstated, with McLaren chief Martin Whitmarsh describing the race as an "invaluable commercial opportunity" as the sport seeks to finally crack America at the umpteenth time of asking.
According to Kovalainen, who will be partaking in a specially-convened fans' forum in Austin on Wednesday, F1 has learnt from its past mistakes and is determined to win over America.
"I think one of the key things to how successful the weekend will be is how the American fans take to the race," said the Caterham driver. "We've obviously been there before and there's a lot of other racing that US fans are very passionate about, but F1 has changed since we last raced there and we know what it takes to put on a show so I think it's going to be really good."
Lotus boss Eric Boullier also believes that F1 is finally well set to gain a foothold in the potentially lucrative American market.
"I'm sure that America likes Formula 1 more than people think," Boullier commented. "As a team we are very happy to be returning to the USA especially as we strongly believe that it's a market where Formula 1 should be.
"It a land of tremendous opportunity for Formula 1 and we hope to build on this opportunity in the future. Also, we took part in the opening ceremony of the track two weeks ago, and the buzz it has generated was quite surprising."