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f1 american driver mario andretti

Epstein: A winning US F1 driver would be a beautiful game-changer

f1 american driver mario andretti

We have written many times on this site that the next big thing to make Formula 1 boom even more in America, is a winning United States driver, and Circuit of the Americas (COTA) boss Bobby Epstein agrees with the obvious.

Currently, there is no USA-born and bred F1 driver on the grid, yet there are two races in the United States, at COTA and Miami this year, and three next year, with Las Vegas on the schedule. These are long-term deals.

Currently enjoying the boom is COTA’s Bobby Eptstein whose team have added a new grandstand located just after the famed esses or “S-Curves” of Turns 3-5, the new stand gives fans a head-on view of the cars, just before they head uphill through Turns 6-8.

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However the big deal is yet to come according to Epstein: “I do think Americans will show some pride in having an American driver in F1, but I think there will be a lot of support if we have a winning driver in F1. There is a difference.

“The real question is how exciting would it be to have a winning American driver? I think that’s a few years off, but certainly, that would be a beautiful game-changer. That would be bigger than Netflix.”

The reality is that Indycar and F1 have yet to properly energise with regards to Superlicence requirements and the like, the obvious path to a seat on a Grand Prix grid is through the Europe-based junior feeder series including F4, F3 and F2.

F1 needs another race driver like Mario Andretti

Logan Sargeant to drive for Williams Racing in FP1 at COTA | Williams Racing

Epstein admitted he keeps eye on American driver talent: “Yeah you do. That’s the short answer. We watch it, and you know that besides being a great driver they’re going to need a great car to be a champion.

“In Herta’s case, either you’ve got to hope McLaren’s going to be more competitive or you’ve got to hope they can get in a Ferrari or a Red Bull or a Mercedes right now, so you’ve also got to hope the power shuffles once in a while.”

Epstein was referencing Herta’s deal with McLaren which may (or may not) result in a F1 drive for Zak Brown’s Woking outfit, but the McLaren boss is hiring far more drivers than the two seats he has for them.

Furthermore, a great American race driver in a back of the grid or midfield car won’t cut it. A new Mario Andretti, a driver who can adapt to the European way of life that F1 tends to demand for those actively involved, including drivers.

One American who is making waves, through Europe’s traditional route is impressive Formula 2 rookie Logan Sargeant who will get an FP1 run with Williams at the United States Grand Prix.

An important development for US drivers with F1 ambitions, but Williams is no longer a powerhouse, heir cars at the wrong end of proceedings which will hardly inspire fans no matter who, or how good, the driver is.

Nevertheless, Epstein acknowledged Sargeant’s participation: “It’s pretty fantastic, but it will be better when he’s participating on Sunday.

“That’s absolutely a goal of mine to see. It’s nice to have a U.S. race team in Haas, but it pales into comparison to what could happen to have a U.S. driver who is winning,” insisted the COTA boss.