Stars, Stripes, and a New Series: The Rise of F1 in America

With the growing profile of American fans in Formula 1 and the rumor of more American investment, ATRL’s Kristina Agresta takes a look at the future of F1 in the United States.

Written by Kristina Agresta

October 24, 2021

Formula 1’s popularity is on the rise in the United States. With the introduction of the Miami GP and the major success of Netflix’s Drive to Survive series, questions have started to arise as to how America’s interest in F1 will be further represented in the sport. Rumors have been circling about a possible Andretti buyout of Alfa Romeo and what it means to have that historic American name back in F1. 

 

In May, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali voiced his desire to see an American driver on the grid, but that in the short term, it is unrealistic. If the Andretti deal goes through, the increased American presence could lead to F1’s first American driver since Alexander Rossi drove in 5 races for the Marussia F1 team in 2015, but who will it be?

 

Realistically, F2 championship contender and Sauber Academy junior Theo Pourchaire will most likely get the Alfa Romeo second seat in 2023 due to his place in their academy and team principal Fred Vasseur’s love of the young Frenchman. However, there are a few options if Andretti comes in and is serious about bringing in an American. 

 

The youngest ever IndyCar winner, Colton Herta, has a real chance of driving in Formula 1 as rumors have been flying around about him possibly getting the Alfa Romeo seat for 2022. While Herta lacks the correct number of superlicense points to race next year, with another excellent year in IndyCar and running in free practice sessions, he would be able to get enough points. Herta is a shining star on the rise. At just 18 years old, he won his first IndyCar race and has won a subsequent 5 times. He finished 5th in the 2021 championship with Andretti, so he already has a relationship with the team that could continue in F1. While he may not quite be ready for it, his fellow IndyCar driver Pato O’Ward believes he has everything he needs to succeed in F1. (Motorsport)

IndyCar’s Colton Herta at the Circuit of the Americas (Photo via IndyCar)

Logan Sargeant hasn’t been able to catch a break. The 20-year-old Floridian had everything he needed to win the F3 championship last year with Prema but lost out on the title when he had a first-lap collision with Lirim Zendelli in the year’s final race and ended up 3rd in the championship. Sargeant should’ve made the step up to F2 in 2021 along with former teammate and F3 champion Oscar Piastri, but was plagued with financial issues that prevented him from securing a drive. 

He was able to find a spot with Charouz in F3 for the 2021 season and pulled off some incredible results considering the state of the Charouz. He won in the final round of the season, which was the first time a Charouz had won in F3. Along with two third-place finishes and one second-place finish, this win cemented that Sargeant deserves a shot at F2 and potentially F1. If Andretti want to support Americans going into F1, they would be wise to back Sargeant. 

Things are looking up for the Florida native as this week it was announced that he has joined the Williams driver academy and has made solid plans for 2022. This could be a great step on the long road to F1 for Sargeant. 

 

The motorsport world witnessed the comeback of Juan Manuel Correa this year. The former F2 driver went from being unable to walk to driving for ART GP in Formula 3 this year, and while he may not have achieved the same results as his teammates, he still finished in the points on 5 occasions in his first year back in a single-seater. During his albeit shortened 2019 F2 season, Correa secured two second-place finishes and cemented himself as part of the Sauber Junior Academy. Correa rejoined the academy this year, and if Sauber continues to have a voice in the team in the event of an Andretti takeover, hopefully, we could one day see Correa on the grid. 

 

An American driver in F1 seems like a long shot right now, but with the growing interest of the sport stateside, people are clamoring to see a “home hero” they can root for. Whether it is Herta, Sargeant, or someone we haven’t seen yet, it won’t be long before the stars and stripes appear on the grid. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kristina developed her love of motorsport through years watching Top Gear with her dad every night. She specializes in Formula One and it’s feeder series F2, F3, and F4. Her favorite teams are Williams & McLaren and supports Prema & ART Grand Prix in feeder series. Outside of motorsport Kristina spends her time supporting the Washington Football Team and studying film. You can find her on Twitter as @agrestaP1.

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