Formula 1 since the days of Mario Andretti has failed to find an American driver capable of taking on the F1 field. Red Bull’s sister team recruited American drover Scott Speed, though his violent fall our with the Torro Rosso team manager saw him leave the sport toute suite.
Christian Horner was asked by Sky Sports presenter Simon Lazenby about the significance of a historic American racing team like Andretti Global joining F1, his reply suggests it’s less important than the media lead us to believe.
The Red Bull boss mooted to Sky F1, “I think it’s bigger than that… we need an American driver. We need another Mario [Andretti]. We need American driver that’s going to be competitive and going to run at the front.
There’s some great young talent coming through. We’ve got a young guy we’re backing in Formula 3, Jack Crawford, he’s an exciting young talent… there’s other guys around. Hopefully with this excitement there is about Formula 1 there’s gonna be more boys and girls coming into karting at junior levels – and its only a matter of time before we see a really competitive American driver.”
Horner explains, importing a driver from a current American series has failed in the past.
“We did that with Scott Speed,” which of course failed.
Horner believes American drivers need to earn their crust in European racing. Something Mario Andretti agrees with.
Invited into the Sky Sports commentary box, Mario Andretti discussed the future route for American F1 teams and drivers into F1.
He states that if Andretti Global is accepted into F1, they will have a full F2/F3 programme too, training USA drivers for F1. American drivers “should be training in Europe to move up to Formula 1”
That said, Mario believes current IndyCar high flier, Colton Herta is the exception. “He is ready for F1”.
Herta did his training in Europe and was picked up by the Andretti organisation and has proven to be early Vertsappen like – a bit crazy, doesn’t play the percentages….. but when he’s on it, Herta is unbeatable.