Alexander Rossi, Mario Andretti, Monza, 2014

American fans just happy to have a home driver – Rossi

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Alexander Rossi says American fans will be pleased just to see a home driver in the United States Grand Prix, regardless of where they’ll finish.

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Comment of the day

Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Suzuka, 2015
Hulkenberg would be happy with less practice
Nico Hulkenberg wants less practice time, but @Georgeod has a reservation:

One of the biggest issues since the reduction in testing is the lack of track time that non-F1 drivers can get in F1 machinery. This has led to more experienced drivers having an advantage in securing F1 seats, because it’s more of a punt to choose a rookie driver for your team.

I want to see more young drivers have the opportunity to drive F1 cars. If reducing practice time saves money which goes towards allowing inexperienced drivers to have an opportunity to drive cars in test sessions then I’m all for reducing practice time. However if practice is reduced without finding time in the schedule for alternate running, then I am not in favour.
@Georgeod

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On this day in F1

Today in 1970 United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen decided the world championship in strange and poignant fashion. Two races earlier championship leader Jochen Rindt had been killed during practice at Monza, and when Jacky Ickx won the following round in Canada it left him with a chance of passing Rindt in the points standings before the season ended.

At Watkins Glen, however, Ickx finished a distant fourth. Emerson Fittipaldi took his first victory, driving for Rindt’s former team Lotus, and by doing so secured the title for the posthumous champion.

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Keith Collantine
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  • 59 comments on “American fans just happy to have a home driver – Rossi”

    1. I don’t know if I’m in minority or not, but I never cared one bit for a nationality of an F1 driver, be it from home or not. I mean, there’s just 20 (or a few more) of them, and you get to see them much closer, so I feel that importance of nationality pales in comparison with how familiar you get with their character.
      This isn’t some sport where you have 32 teams with 11 player each, and where you really can’t know much more about 90% of the players except that they play for a team that has more to do with you than some other one.
      In F1, you get to see much more of a driver’s personality and quality, so you get to chose your favorites by some more meaningful, I’d assume, personal traits than the location of their birth.

      1. @brace Hear, hear.

      2. @Brace Could not agree more! Never been one for supporting a driver due to nationality, I like a driver for his personality. It’s one of the reasons (the other being extortionate prices) I would prefer to go to a different GP than the British one.

      3. @brace I was attracted to formula one just because an Indian team was racing in it back in 2009. Today my interest in F1 is more than a team based on nationality just like you. So, nationality does play its role where the sport isn’t popular but if you want to draw an audience, but after few years it all about the sport. Sometimes to attract an audience you need to win their attention, eventually some will quit watching it and some will grow into it.

      4. I agree somewhat but I feel like I will always support the drivers of my own nationality that bit more.

      5. @brace As a German born Australian, I always find myself gravitating towards Germans and Aussies. It doesn’t mean that I like all Aussie or German drivers, god knows that H-H Frentzen and David Brabham didn’t exactly set my world on fire, however, I followed Michael Schumacher from the get go because I heard of a young German coming up in sportscars and managed to plonk it on 7th at Spa, so I watched his career from that point on.

        Today, I find myself following Ricciardo and Vettel, and given last year, it seems like its a match from opposing ends, in that respect nationality does count for me specifically.

        I do take your point that character is important, I feel like I need to connect to the drivers, and as such, everyday germans/australians appeal to me personally and I feel comfortable around them, so there is merrit in that. However, its not that important to me, especially considering when British drivers just don’t do it for me, I like the guys, but brits like Mansell, D. Hill, Brundle, Herbert, Irvine, Button, never did anything for me when they were on track. And to confuse the situation more, I think Hamilton is possibly one of the greatest Brits to drive in F1, but I can’t relate to him so I don’t particularly follow him as much as I would the other drivers. So its hard to convey.

        1 thing is for sure though, everyone watches F1 for different reasons, and there is no right or wrong reason.

        1. ColdFly F1 - @coldfly (@)
          4th October 2015, 21:39

          I’ve lived/worked in AU, BR, D, E, F, GB, NL, USA so I support 80% of the field.
          And B is on my list as well thus I can’t wait for Stoffel to join.

          1. @coldfly
            I gotta ask, how did you manage to live in so many different places? :)
            Work or something else? It’s quite an amazing record! :)

            1. ColdFly F1 - @coldfly (@)
              6th October 2015, 15:14

              @brace – study, work, and some personal (sea)change decisions.
              And all that within 20yrs of moving around.
              I’m now back to ‘revisiting’ the places I liked most in the past.

      6. @brace You and I are certainly not alone (particularly on F1 Fanatic) but I think we are still in minority.

        I think that nationality does not matter so much to hardcore fans, partly because the sport matters to them more than a single driver or team and partly because they simply know a lot more about the drivers’ personalities and qualities, as you say.

        Then there are also “dissidents”, who are particularly critical of their compatriots and will unlikely ever support any sportsman from their own country, not just in F1 but any sports. There are not many of them but they tend to be loud. I admit that I also sometimes associate myself with that group, not in F1 as there are no Latvian drivers but in several other sports (there are many reasons for that).

        The level of patriotism in sports also depends on the country. But the average Joe will still much more likely support his compatriots so while I doubt that Rossi’s presence changes anything at the moment, I am sure that an American driver, who fights for the world championship, would boost the popularity of F1 in the USA.

      7. This isn’t some sport where you have 32 teams with 11 player each, and where you really can’t know much more about 90% of the players except that they play for a team that has more to do with you than some other one.

        But isn’t this (caring more for drivers racing for the team you support) something that plays a part in the F1 fandom? I would say that in Italy this has a way bigger impact than the nationality of the driver. I don’t know if McLaren/Williams fans have found themselves consistently caring much more for the drivers racing for those teams, and I would like to know.

      8. Duncan Snowden
        4th October 2015, 17:57

        Well said. I’m always pleased to see the Brits do well, but I’d get more joy out of Felipe Massa winning again, or either McLaren driver finally dragging that thing back up to a podium position than yet another Hamilton lights-to-pole charge. And my position on teams has always been “anyone but Ferrari” (although I tend to have preferences that vary from season to season) yet I’ve never been so happy as when I watched Jean Alesi take his only win at Montreal. Olivier Panis’s win at Monaco comes close, though.

        One of the things that drew me to motorsport in the first place – a minor one, but real enough – was that, unlike other sports, the teams weren’t named after places, but (for the most part) people: Ferrari, Williams, McLaren, Tyrrell. I’ve always liked that.

      9. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
        4th October 2015, 19:47

        One of the best comments I’ve seen on any F1 site. I was/am a huge Schumi fan (my favourite driver), and it annoys me when people question that because my favourite driver is not British. My second favourite driver is Jenson Button.

        1. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
          4th October 2015, 19:48

          I’m English btw.

      10. I’ve never supported anyone purely because of their nationality in F1 or any sport. Supporting England in the rugby, Andy Murray at Wimbledon just because they happen to be English/British or whatever has never appealed in the slightest. I’ve always thought that there was a fine line between patriotism and jingoism and the flag waving mentality strikes me as a little crude, especially when coupled with guttural grunts and other noises like you get at football matches. I would never go to Silverstone purely because I know that the Lewis-mania would drive me crazy. Yes, Lewis is a brilliant driver, but give him your support for something more than your shared nationality. Same goes for Wimbledon. I’d probably end up with tickets for Andy Murray against Roger Federer and have to sit there whilst Murray dismantles Roger in straight sets, as the court echoes to primeval screams of “Go on Andy!” and “C’mon Murray!”.

        I support Williams, but that’s because of the way that they operate and the fact they’re in the sport because they love it – they aren’t trying to sell cars, fizzy drinks or booze. Driver-wise, this year I find myself rooting for Vettel and Button; part of this is because they are impressive talents, and another part is because I just find them both quite likeable as characters. They are humorous, interesting and charismatic. I have warmed to Lewis somewhat, and recognise his great talent, but he just doesn’t appeal as much.

      11. When Gilles won at his home race it was a pretty big deal here in Canada. As a kid, it was my introduction to F1. The hook may have been nationalistic, but the sport transcends borders in so many ways. It is a pleasurable part of F1 that nationality is irrelevant.

    2. I think its a shame the Indian circuit isn’t used much outside of local events as I always thought it was a really nice circuit & the few F1 races we had there did all feature some very good racing. A fast, flowing & fairly technical circuit which the drivers seemed to enjoy & its in a country that has a passion for the sport.

      Korea was the same, The middle sector in particular was brilliant & I remember it been very popular with drivers.

      I’d rather a race at either of those venues than Abu-Dhabi or Baku.

      1. Korea was indeed good but there was an unnecessary bunch of turns after the third straight which ruined the entire flow, the track was poorly built, and there was absolutely no atmosphere at all.

        India I completely agree was a great track, really enjoyed watching the races (other than Red Bull dominating every single one).

      2. India’s 2nd and 3rd sectors are really challenging and great to watch.

      3. If I recall, 2013 Buddh was $35 USD general admission (going by a vague memory) and still the attendance appeared (on television) to be quite poor. Same with Korea and Shanghai.

        FOM continues to lease out the F1 circuit to plutocrats and kleptocrats in third-world sinkholes where the locals can hardly afford to sit in the car park, let alone in general admission or the grandstands.

        Wouldn’t it make more sense to build out the classic Euro and Asian tracks – the homes of motorsport – than to keep pushing the sport into locales where the locals can’t really afford to attend?

        1. please do us a favor and stop consuming our precious oxygen

        2. Agreed, F1 needs to go where the fans are not just where they can get the biggest hosting fee. It was very sad when we lost the montreal GP event for a short time. With the price of oil dropping perhaps the kingdoms won’t be so eager to sign up for big fees.

    3. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
      4th October 2015, 0:26

      I like the idea of reducing practice in favour for a first session for young drivers to run in. Also it could help reduce the gap, supposedly Merc have an issue every friday not that anyone believes that.

      1. Very weird for a driver to want less practice time in Formula 1 in any case.

    4. So what championship has Susie won to be in ROC? And if so, how long ago?

      1. And what has Coulthard won then?

        1. I don’t think you actually have to have won any championships, just be a ‘star’.

          1. ColdFly F1 - @coldfly (@)
            4th October 2015, 21:45

            So @omarr-pepper question should be: ‘So since when is Susie a star to be in ROC?’

        2. Coulthard is the champion of the Race of Champions of course!

      2. @omarr-pepper Never mind championships, when did Susie Wolff last win a race of any kind?

        She’s been a test driver since 2013. Before that she spent seven years in the DTM with a best finish of seventh. Before that she had a few podiums in British Formula Renault but never won. So I’m not sure she’s won a race since she moved up from karts to racing cars, well over a decade ago.

        1. But to suggest she is where she is because of nepotism gets people scolded…

      3. Its unfortunate we can’t get Shedden instead.

    5. Well, you got one thing right, Rossi — I’m an American, and I couldn’t care less where you finish.

      1. Interested to know, from your point of view, does it make a slight difference knowing you have an American on the grid?

        1. Not even a tiny smidgen of difference, to be honest. I would want Vettel to destroy the field even if everyone else in it was American. ;-) Seriously, I always find this obsession with nationality to be somewhat perplexing!

          1. @aka_robyn maybe it doesnt affect your choice because you are an f1f. But the occasional American viewer might be attracted to see what he can do.

        2. I’m modestly happy our last effort isn’t Scott Speed any more, but I really don’t care about the nationalities of the drivers in the slightest.

        3. @strontium – Good question. When I was a youngster and first became enamored of F1 there were usually some US drivers in the mix. Jim Clark was still my favorite driver.

          It has always been my desire to watch good racing and to find things to like about drivers regardless of what their home country is. Some of my favorite drivers have by chance been from the US. For example, Dan Gurney and Mark Donohue.

    6. Simon (@weeniebeenie)
      4th October 2015, 1:17

      I’ve always found this “American team needs an American driver” thing weird. It was bandied around with USF1, now it is again with Haas. You don’t really see this with any other teams and nationalities, German fans saying there needed to be a German at Mercedes (Yes I know they did have two, but nobody was demanding it the way they do with US teams). If Renault does come off I doubt you’re going to have fans and media asking which French driver they’ll have, or should have.

      Same again here, do US fans really need a US driver on the grid as incentive to go to a GP?

      1. No, we don’t, but it is nice having an extra reason to cheer for a particular team or driver

      2. I find the whole thing weird as well. I obviously can’t answer for all fans in the US, but for myself, it is certainly not the case.

        I don’t care where either drivers or teams come from. I’m definitely not going to switch to rooting for either Haas or Rossi just because they happen to be from the US. A driver from the US would have to impress me enough to follow them, same as anybody else. I’ve been to a GP with no US driver or team on the grid, and would be just as interested in going to more if there were no incoming US teams or drivers. Honestly, I find it a little bit strange how much our TV coverage focuses on leading up to the Austin GP and how much they’ve been focusing on what Rossi is doing now. I understand that it’s important to some, and that for a large number of people watching that broadcast Austin is the one they’re most likely to be able to get to (for me, Montréal is actually significantly closer anyhow, and didn’t receive any special attention), but a whole month out seems excessive. I get that there hasn’t been a driver from the US driver on the grid in some time, so it bears remarking upon, but I myself don’t place any more stock on it than I would if he were from anywhere else that an F1 driver hasn’t come from in some time.

        I could be the outlier here, though. I don’t know nearly enough other people in the US who follow F1 to know what most of them think. I know that there are some people here in the US who might feel that way, but I don’t know how many of them are F1 fans (or potential F1 fans).

        1. (Dual Brit/US here).
          I don’t think the existing fans need an American driver as much as the American media think they need an American driver to sell the coverage to potential new fans. Existing fans are used to the international nature of the sport.
          NBC, who currently hold the US rights, has a long traditional of focusing on Americans in the Olympics, for example. They love to tell an athlete’s back story so we can root for them more. This may work for casual fans but not for those who are interested in the pure competition.
          So we’ll suffer through special segments on Rossi’s grandmother or some such tripe here in the US instead of coverage of FP2 or Q1. Sigh.
          Rossi seems like a decent person and driver, I wish him well. I tend to support underdogs and I have a soft spot for Manor. I hope they manage to find time to add mention of Mr. Rossi to their web site soon… But they are British with an Italian engine this year, and a German engine next year. They are as American as Budweiser (which is a German name for a Czech beer style largely brewed in the US by a Belgian-owned company). Small world. Borders are more and more meaningless, I’m glad to say.

          1. If further proof were required that a US driver is not essential one only has to look at the driver line-ups in other series popular in the US, other than NASCAR they seem to be a united nations of drivers with particular emphasis on Brazilians, Aussies, Kiwis, Brits and Euros.

            1. And the US coverage of the US series tends to be blind to the national origin of the drivers. And the chassis. And the engines. Shame in many ways.

      3. It was same in India when Force India was launched, we had Karun and Narain then, but Vijay Mallya didn’t fall for that pressure, instead he started a young Indian driver programme called ” One in a Billion hunt”. One of the promising drivers, Jehan Daruvala won the best rookie award in Formula Renault 2.0 NEC.

      4. The US is quite a nationalistic country. You can just see that simply by how many like putting the flag outside their house. If you do that in Europe people will look at you weird.

    7. As a fan, I think that if you happen to fall into a sport and enjoy it, you need little more to motivate you to see it, but I am certain that marketing strategies lead customers to a certain spectacle with baits or perks like local teams or drivers and then you have fans who needed that little bit of encouragement to watch. I bet there will be some NASCAR fans who will watch this one and have not done so before, just to see a local team perform

    8. Keith Crossley
      4th October 2015, 4:56

      Thanks for the USGP 1970 video. Earlier that year I watched Rindt win in England; and, going up to Watkins, somehow everything was different.

      Watching from the “toe” of the Boot saw some fascinating driving styles… Hill patiently understeering through the turn, Ickx doing a quick turn-in and then blasting sideways.

      Most memorable – on the straight that is after the boot (back on the old track) Ickx was trying to pass Rodriguez. This isn’t allowed now but Pedro was driving with his mirrors to keep Jackie behind. The two danced left-right-left-right all the way down the straight. Incredible speed and reactions.

      While I was in England I went to the Jim Russel racing school which had pictures of a recent student – one Emerson Fittipaldi – all around. At the British GP I saw his first GP (Lotus 49); and at the Glen saw his first win in the 72.

      1. Amazing insight, thanks.

    9. Lauda & Hunt :D

    10. Thanks for the comment of the day! @keithcollantine

    11. What’s the big deal about Lauda and Hunt being team mates? They were team mates before, in MSA F2000, so it’s not like it’s anything new. And it’s not a particularly strong line-up either: Lauda is OK-ish, but I don’t understand why anyone would sign Hunt based on his racing credentials.

      Whoever signed the pair to race in NASCAR Euro, I hope he learns that it’s better to sign two competent drivers than to sign something that is news for one day.

      1. @andae23 I thought they’d been team mates before, thanks for the reminder.

      2. @andae23

        Lauda is OK-ish, but I don’t understand why anyone would sign Hunt based on his racing credentials

        I read your comment before I read the tweet and got confused… :)

        1. @Girts Haha yeah maybe I could have included first names :P

    12. F1 needs to stop pushy footing around with pretending to be economy led. It’s racing for goodness sake, if I wanted to watch eco friendly racing I’d watch box bicycles or something!
      F1 is meant to be the pinnacle of motor sport. Not any more for me. I think The World Endurance Champ is far more exciting, even thought that’s being messed about with.
      We either have racing, or we rename it scientific study and testing and drop the pretentious crap about trying to save the planet!
      Racing is just that, Racing!

    13. Speaking as a yank, I suppose it’s nice to to have an American driver in the field, but it’s not essential.

      Personally I’ll cheer for the skilled underdog no matter what the nationality. A few years ago it was Hamilton, then Massa/Bottas, and now back to Vettel/Kimi and Grosjean.

      Really it’s just the competitive skill of the driver, the car, and the team… I suppose in that order. Even the history and tradition of team owners is a factor, e.g., F. Williams and R. Dennis.

    14. Regarding Hulkenbergs comments, as well as CotD, I got to say I agree with Hulkenberg. F1 could do without FP1 & 2, it simply doesn’t add much value. I’d much rather see some competitive qualifying/sprint-races scheduled for Fridays.

      As for rookie drivers, I agree they should get some time to drive an F1 car and show their abilities to the world. You could say removing FP 1 & 2 would go against that, but in reality, how many new drivers see we get a chance as it is now? I don’t have the statistics, but not a lot! Teams seem reluctant to use rookie drivers even in practice sessions.

      Also one can wonder what is the point of using rookie drivers when there are drivers like Maldonado and Ericsson occupying bought F1 seats with teams forced to retain them for their money. The system is basically congested. Not enough drivers who shouldn’t be in F1 leave for new talent to enter.

      1. FP1 should be kept as it but it should be given to rookie and third drivers. The team drivers shouldn’t be allowed to drive in FP1. It’s such a simply rule the FIA can make i never get why they don’t do it.

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