Andretti eyeing ‘legitimate’ path to F1 for US drivers

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Michael Andretti listening to FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem. Miami May 2022. Credit: PA Images
Michael Andretti listening to FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem. Miami May 2022. Credit: PA Images

Michael Andretti says a by-product of his prospective new Formula 1 team would be to provide a pathway for young American drivers.

Although there have been 57 racers from the United States in F1 history, including two World Champions in Phil Hill and Andretti’s father, Mario, the production line has ground to a halt in recent years.

The most recent driver to cross the Atlantic in search of Formula 1 glory was Alexander Rossi, who competed in five grands prix for Manor Marussia towards the end of the 2015 campaign.

Ironically, Rossi then headed back to race in IndyCar for Andretti, whose team he has just announced he is leaving to join Arrow McLaren SP.

However, despite the seven-year gap, it may not be long until the next American driver arrives in F1, with Colton Herta high on Andretti’s list of potential racers if his hopes of launching a new team for the 2024 season are realised.

Michael Andretti talks to Colton Herta. St Petersburg February 2022. Credit: PA Images
Michael Andretti talks to Colton Herta. St Petersburg February 2022. Credit: PA Images

The 59-year-old is waiting to hear if his application to enter Andretti Global has been successful, although there appears to be a belief within the sport’s hierarchy that 10 teams are enough and an 11th is not necessary at this time.

Nevertheless, if Andretti is given the go-ahead, he will be keen to create opportunities for American drivers – having competed in 13 races himself for McLaren in 1993 before heading back Stateside.

“We want to be an American team that allows American drivers to develop in the future,” said Andretti, quoted by Motorsport.com.

“There’s nobody out there doing that. That’s where we want to be. There is no legitimate way for an American driver to get into F1. There just isn’t. We want to pave the way to F1.”

When Andretti came close to buying Sauber, who run the Alfa Romeo team, last autumn the idea would have been to put Herta in the car.

Herta also has another potential route into F1 via McLaren, with whom he has agreed a developmental role, although the Woking team’s IndyCar driver Pato O’Ward of Mexico may also have something to say about that.

 

Andretti said of Herta, who drives for him in IndyCar having spent 2015 and 2016 racing in Europe: “He should be in F1 right now, he has that talent, but [his backers] ran out of money, so they came back to the US and he went the [American] way.

“I want to make sure we can get kids out of karting and open the door for them and if they are good enough, hopefully they can go to Formula 1 and we will have the team to do that – there will be that legitimate deal.”

 

 

The article Andretti eyeing ‘legitimate’ path to F1 for US drivers appeared first on Planetf1.com.

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