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“You need a great home base, they have that. You need a good TV package, they’ve got an enhanced TV package,” Brown said. “Ideally, all they need now is an American driver.”

That hasn’t happened yet. This season’s championship chase is down to two drivers, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, who are separated by 10 points with two races left.

Andretti said he hopes F1’s return to the U.S. will nurture a homegrown driver of the future.

“I always say F1 is like the Olympics. There’s a lot of national pride and to have an American representing his country would be fabulous,” Andretti said.

Several F1 drivers said this week they are excited about the return the U.S.

Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus, who won the 2007 Formula One championship and sits a distant third in the current standings, raced seven U.S. Grand Prix at Indianapolis and drove twice in NASCAR Trucks and Nationwide events in 2011.

“I like the American atmosphere. It’s just a relaxed environment, they know how to have fun, and most of all, they love racing,” Raikkonen said. “After seeing the excitement of the American NASCAR fans, I hope Formula One gets people as eager to enjoy our racing in Texas, too.”

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Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer contributed to this report from Phoenix.