We often hear pundits say that Formula 1 would really take off in America if there was an American driver. I appreciate the pleasantries but that’s not true or at least it hasn’t been true in recent years.
There was Scott Speed who joined the Red Bull American driver search program and actually ran in F1 but there wasn’t a throng of Americans clamoring to scale the fences to get in to an F1 race to see the American race. In 2006, Scott was the first American driver to participate in F1 since Michael Andretti back in 1993.
There was also Alexander Rossi who was considerably more competitive than Scott and despite that, there was no crash of humanity at the entrances of F1 races in order to see an American driver racing in F1. Rossi is doing very well in Indycar currently.
There was also a sentiment that an American team would really wake Americans fans up to F1 so Haas F1 surely would tick that box…except it didn’t. At least not at the scale that Netflix has.
In the end, I’ve become a broken record since 2005 when I started this website and podcast. I’ve said for years that you can’t take F1 to America, you have to take America to F1 and that’s exactly what Netflix has done with their Drive to Survive series.
Why did I think that? Because that’s how I got in to F1 all those years ago and back then, you had to really work hard to get information about F1, teams, drivers, bosses and more.
Whether I was right all this time doesn’t really matter to new fans and veteran fans couldn’t care less about my opinion but now that we have American ownership of F1, an American team and three American F1 races…perhaps now is the time for that old notion to come true—that an American driver will really engage an American audience.
If that’s the case, then Williams F1 (also owned by Americans) reserve driver Logan Sargeant is going to be the man to watch!
At this year’s USGP in Austin, Logan will be taking the Williams out in FP1 for his first run in an F1 car. He’s done very well in Formula 2 and this is a huge opportunity for him.
Getting to know Logan is a first stop for American fans and Williams has posted a nice “Get to know our American F2 Rookie” Q&A you can read right here. Hey, he may have to fight Daniel Ricciardo for #3.