Christian Horner: American driver 'bigger' for F1 than American team

Christian Horner believes it is more important for Formula 1 to have an American driver on the grid than a second American team.

Formula 1’s popularity in the United States is on the rise, so much so that next season the sport will visit three times – Miami, Texas and Las Vegas.

And yet Formula 1 does not have an American driver on the grid.

In fact there has not been an American F1 driver since Alexander Rossi participated in five races back in 2015.

There is the prospect of one arriving next season, or in 2024, with McLaren testing Colton Herta who has been linked to Daniel Ricciardo’s race seat.

And that, says Horner, is more important than adding a second American team to the grid.

He told Sky F1: “I think bigger than that [American team] is an American driver, though. I think that we need another Mario [Andretti].

“You need a driver that’s an American driver that’s going to be competitive, that’s going to run at the front.

“There’s some great young talent coming through, we’ve got a young guy that we’re backing in Formula 3, Jak Crawford. He’s an exciting young talent, there’s other guys around as well.

“I think hopefully with this excitement that there is about Formula 1, there are going to be more boys and girls coming into karting at the junior levels, and it’s only a matter of time then hopefully before we see a really competitive World Champion American driver.”

But the Red Bull team boss concedes that talent has to trump nationality when deciding who makes it into Formula 1.

“It’s not enough [to be American],” he added. “We did that with Scott Speed, he’s a good driver, we backed him all the way through from karting but if the guys are running [in] midfield, it’s not enough.

“You’ve seen it with Max in Holland, with Fernando in Spain or Senna in Brazil, you need that driver to ignite the passion.”

Formula 1 already has one American team in Haas with Michael Andretti vying for a spot on the grid for his Andretti Global team.

However, the FIA has yet to say yes or no to the former McLaren driver.

He recently urged them to make a decision, even one that would see all those wanting a spot on the grid bid for it.


“I talked to (Liberty Media CEO) Greg (Maffei) and I asked him, ‘Just let it go to a bid, we’ll beat everybody,’” Andretti told AP. “That’s all I’m asking.

“Not that they give it to us. Let us have a shot and we will beat anybody else that’s out there. We have great backers. Money is not the issue.”


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