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Hard for any American to succeed in Formula 1 - Newgarden

  • Published on 09 Mar 2020 13:09
  • comments 8
  • By: Coilin Higgins

Team Penske driver Josef Newgarden has expressed his belief that American drivers are looked down upon by Formula 1, branding its attitude towards US drivers as 'silly'.

Newgarden spent the majority of his junior career in Europe, managing to get as far as the GP3 series in 2010. After a disappointing season, however, he moved back to the States to the Indy Lights series in 2011, where he conquered the series and moved up to IndyCar for 2012. 

Newgarden claimed the first of his two consecutive IndyCar titles with Team Penske in 2018, driving alongside Alexander Rossi, who competed in F1 in a handful of races in 2015 with Manor.

“When I was 17, I got to go to Europe,” Newgarden told the New York Times. “I wanted to stay over there and try for Formula One. I did really well but then ran out of money after my second year.

“I’d like to do it. But nowadays, it’s kind of hard for any American. There’s a Formula One bubble in Europe. I’ll be honest, they look down on Americans a bit over there. It’s really silly.”

Drivers 'may as well not show up' if they don't drive for Mercedes, Ferrari

Newgarden also believes that there is plenty of potential within some American drivers to be able to challenge for a title in F1.

However, he suspects that the level of competition in F1 compared to the single-spec IndyCar Series turns drivers away, as he struggles to see the point in competing with a team that does not have a realistic shot at winning titles.

“There’s American talent that if they got the right seat at the right time, they could win championships, no problem," Newgarden added.

“Formula One is very glitzy and glamorous, but if you’re not in a Ferrari or a Mercedes you might as well not show up. There’s zero chance you’re going to win the race."

Replies (8)

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  • "I did really well but then ran out of money after my second year." There is your problem, American Company don't invest in drivers.

    • + 0
    • Mar 9 2020 - 13:19
    • Rossi could have come to F1 but chose not to. The difference is that Rossi was truly talented. Yes... F1 is elitist, but the scouts can definitely pick out top talent. Newgarden never showed great potential to while racing in europe

      • + 1
      • Mar 9 2020 - 15:56
    • Neither did Latiffi though.

      • + 0
      • Mar 11 2020 - 12:10
  • JuJuHound

    Posts: 300

    In the modern F1 Villeneuve and Montoya were able to make it fine.
    However Villeneuve had best car around and he made plenty of tests before 96 season.
    From these I remember most: Zanardi, Andretti, Speed, Bourdais failed to make it fine.

    • + 0
    • Mar 9 2020 - 14:16
    • 2GRX7

      Posts: 99

      I believe they're talking about Americans-not just Indy Car drivers. If one looks at just American drivers, excluding Rossi, the last couple have left a bad taste in the mouths of F1 teams. Michael Andretti got too homesick, and Scott Speed showed his "Privilege", yelling and showing a condescending attitude towards his team.

      • + 1
      • Mar 9 2020 - 16:49
  • I think it has a lot to do with them not coming up in the European series like F3 and F2 drivers do, pretty much on level playing field in similar kit. Without that, it's hard to get a read on how American drivers compare to those in F3 and F2. Maybe it's harder to get a seat or maybe the risk is too big for a young driver from the US to pack up everything and start trying to get a seat.

    • + 0
    • Mar 10 2020 - 01:08
  • There's lots of evidence F1 drivers going the other way and making great progress fast - Mansell, Rossi, Montoya, Sato, more recently Alonso - sadly fewer the other way around. Two are very different formula's, Indy is more a level playing field, F1 is a technology race that big manufacturers want to get involved in, as such they seek the best drivers to showcase that technology. Recent US driver haven't been up to the job, I do think these teams would spot talent and give them the chance, maybe in the junior programmes at first, it's not a case of looking down noses, it's hard business decisions.

    • + 0
    • Mar 10 2020 - 11:09
    • 2GRX7

      Posts: 99

      A lot of U.S. drivers are able to cope and want to live and compete in Europe, but it will always come down to money! Money, money,moooney! If one doesn't have a global, U.S.-based company willing to back ones' European effort, they're not going to race there. F2 is a spec series. Rossi did well, but he doesn't have a name in the U.S. If you take a Jimmy Johnson and put him in an F1 seat (i.e. McLaren), all of a sudden, we'll have a Lowes, or McDonalds clambering to get a piece of that!

      • + 0
      • Mar 10 2020 - 17:08

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