Mario Andretti

“Wrong and arrogant”: Andretti criticises Haas boss’s view on American drivers

2018 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

America’s most recent world champion has joined the criticism of Haas team principal Guenther Steiner’s comments on the quality of US racing drivers.

Mario Andretti said Steiner’s claim there are no American drivers ready to race in F1 was “wrong and arrogant”.

Santino Ferrucci, Haas, Hungaroring, 2017
Haas tested American racer Ferrucci last year
Andretti’s grandson Marco races in America’s IndyCar series. Several of his rivals also voiced criticism of Steiner’s remarks.

Alexander Rossi, the last American driver to start an F1 race, said Steiner had “jumbo jet sized blinkers”.

Graham Rahal described his comments as “complete [bullshit]”, adding “if you really believe that, why don’t you call some of us, give it a shot?”

“American drivers are damn good. I stand by that, there’s lots of talent here. Stay in IndyCar, it’s far more competitive anyways,” he added. “Always funny the Haas mentality. ‘Americans aren’t good enough’, yet they haven’t even given us a shot. Not worth our time.”

Haas’s development driver Santino Ferrucci is American. The 19-year-old, who races in Formula Two, tested for the team last year

2018 F1 season

Browse all 2018 F1 season articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

78 comments on ““Wrong and arrogant”: Andretti criticises Haas boss’s view on American drivers”

  1. You must have some skillsets that will bring awareness to any young hopeful. It also requires an investment in luck, a certain amount of motivation and self belief.

  2. “if you really believe that, why don’t you call some of us, give it a shot?”

    Testing ban, just 20 cockpits in total, some of which are blocked for the monetary needs of survival of the respective teams, some are blocked by established drivers, there really isn’t much room for experimenting with potentials in current day F1. For any new driver to get into F1 on potential, he really needs to force team bosses into seeing him as a future great. So much so, that even with Leclerc, who utterly dominated and demolished his opposition in junior series, we are relieved he got a drive.
    Sorry, but the way things currently are, there is no US-driver I see joining F1 soonish. That said, I’d obviously prefer a situation where we had more cockpits, less of them blocked for pay-drivers, and that bit more room for experimenting.

    1. +1 Could’nt agree more. A 26 car grid please Ross and lovely moustache man.

  3. This haas got me thinking, the Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes, and McLaren young driver programs do not have / have not had, as far as I know, any drivers from the USA, or at least none that have been serious contenders for an F1 seat.

    I wonder why this is. I would think signing and developing a driver from the United States would be a golden marketing opportunity for them, especially Ferrari and Red Bull.

    I don’t doubt the US has many talented drivers. Is it possible that young American drivers are less interested, or perhaps there are some other hurdles to this?

    1. @strontium

      This haas got me thinking

      See what you did there.

      I would think signing and developing a driver from the United States would be a golden marketing opportunity for them

      I think the requirement for them to be genuinely competitive and talented gets overlooked. Would Polish fans have got behind Kubica in as big a way as they did if he’d just been average?

      1. “Would Polish fans have got behind Kubica in as big a way as they did if he’d just been average?”


        1. No. I’m polish. They were other (average) polish drivers aspiring to get to F1. Have you heard of them? … exactly.

      2. @keithcollantine In fact they did.

        Polish fans were much more appreciative of Kubica than German fans (or any nationality) was of Heidfeld. When overall, Heidfeld swept the floor with Kubica.

        Although polish fans only remember one of Kubica’s seasons the one where he managed to score more points then Heidfeld for once) while the reality is that he was there for almost 4.

    2. @strontium In their early days, Red Bull and Toro Rosso had Scott Speed driving for them. Unfortunately he did not live up to his surname.

      1. Or maybe it was the wrong type of speed… in….well, you get it……..

        1. We will see how Neil Verhagen will do with a new team. He finished 11th in the FR 2.0 Eurocup and just recently tested during post-season testing and raised eye-brows with other teams. Logan Sargeant did very well in his Eurocup test. He recently finished 3rd in the British F4 championship scoring 2 wins in the ladder stages of the season.

          And as Graham said: Give them the wheel.

    3. “Is it possible that young American drivers are less interested, or perhaps there are some other hurdles to this?”
      American drivers develop their careers in American series, and American motorsport world has always lived in its own seperate world, one Europeans don’t reach into.

      I’ve been following IndyCar for over 20 years and apart from Indy Lights and the defunct Formula Atlantic series I’ve never had knowledge about any junior single seater series in the US.
      I do know that there are literally hundreds of all kinds of touring/production/stock car racing series there, so maybe there isn’t much oppourtunity to develop a career in single seaters.

      Woah! Look what I’ve just found – 2018 will premiere a US Formula 3 series:

      1. Indycar has an entire ladder with the Indy Lights, Pro-Mazda and USF 2000 series. Outside of that ladder, there is a US F4 and upcoming US F3 series.

        1. Indeed the “Mazda Road to Indy” setup is arguably much better than the whole F4, F3, F2 cartel as it actually offers genuine funding and guaranteed drives to series winners so a concept of performance based promotion actually exists.

          1. Providing even less incentive for American racers to switch to Europe/GP3/F2/F1 mid-stream.

        2. The FIA gave Indy Lights and Pro Mazda points recognition. But not enough to reach the minimum point requirements. Indy Lights gave a points system of 15-12-10-7-5-3-2-1. Pro Mazda gave them a 10-7-5-3-1 system.

          And all this because of the small grids.

      2. Glad you found f3 we are putting together a program for it and very excited for the season coming up can’t say who ate drivers are yet since we don’t start racing til Aug we are in crunch time trying to get it going for August lots to do.

    4. @strontium RB had Scott Speed… and McLaren Michael Andretti and… Ferrari had Phil Hill… just joking.

      1. @peartree Michael Andretti, ouch! What a disaster. Not sure if Phil Hill belongs in your list but you were only joking. I’ve heard it said that F1 history has been very unkind to Michael, and that he was better than he appeared, and that it was all McLarens fault. Now that sounds familiar…

        1. @baron, unfortunately, when the F1Rejects site went down, it took the analysis of Michael Andretti’s performance down with it.

          It did agree that, on balance, Michael was probably a more talented driver than he was able to show he was. Some of that was down to factors that were outside his control, such as the crash with Berger at the start of the Brazilian GP or the mechanical issues he had in qualifying for the French GP.

          That was compounded by the fact that he was entering the sport at a time when the cars were at their peak in terms of driver aids and electronic assists, particularly the active suspension system on the MP4/8 that he struggled to get to grips with, and that was compounded by the fact that he came in just as the sport started to shorten the length of both the practise and qualifying sessions (the restriction of 12 laps in qualifying came in for 1993).

          The car did suffer from mechanical and electrical problems, sometimes resulting in unpredictable handling. Now, his son Marco did accuse McLaren of deliberate sabotage in order to justify replacing him with Hakkinen, but that does ignore that Senna was hit by problems as well – such as the brake problems that contributed to his poor performance in the Italian GP – and the claims don’t really stack up (Senna was perhaps luckier in that his car tended to have those problems more often in the practise sessions rather than qualifying or the race itself, but he did still have similar reliability issues).

          On the other hand, it was also pointed out that whilst there were some flaws on McLaren’s side, Michael had a fair few flaws of his own. Like his father, he took the attitude of flying in from the US to the races – but whilst his father did that in an era where it was possible to be a part time F1 driver, since he was also racing sportscars and in Indycar, it was a policy that worked less well in the much more professionalised atmosphere several decades later (and something that Tyler Alexander, one of the founders of McLaren and a long time friend of the Andretti family, had strongly advised Michael not to do).

          That attitude did little to endear himself to the mechanics, who felt a bit insulted and under appreciated given that Michael didn’t want to engage with them (never visiting the factory or really engaging with them outside of the race weekend).

          It also made it rather difficult for them to understand how to adapt the car to what Michael wanted, since he wasn’t really working with them to try and develop a better understanding of the car – instead, having miscalculated how difficult it would be to get up to speed with the car, he farmed out most of the testing work to Hakkinen instead.

          It meant that Michael came across as a rather distant and remote figure to the team, and one who gave the impression that he didn’t really care about trying to improve his performance. When, by contrast, the team had Hakkinen, a hard working and friendly driver who was making an effort to build relationships with the mechanics and to improve both the car and his own personal performances, it meant that Hakkinen steadily rose in the estimation of the team whilst Michael rapidly went into decline.

          It did also mean that, when he did have a few clumsy weekends, it did become easier for him to be written off as out of his depth – that wasn’t always fair, since there were times when the car let him down, but there were times when perhaps he was trying to overcompensate and pushed too hard as a result.

          All in all, whilst McLaren did have some faults given the MP4/8 was a bit of an awkward car at times and they did place Michael under a lot of pressure, at the same time Michael had a fairly poor attitude towards competing in F1 and probably has to shoulder a larger part of the blame.

    5. Arend Westerkamp
      14th January 2018, 9:48

      Scott speed drive for red bull in 2006 or 2007 to my knowledge

      1. He drove for Toro Rosso for 2006 and the first half of 2007, after which he got sacked after an alleged altercation combined with easier-to-prove deficiency of results compared to those expected from (and eventually obtained by) Sebastian Vettel. He was arguably the first victim of a Red Bull conveyer belt jam.

  4. That will be a wake-up call for Andretti Autosport. Michael just re-opened into making the F1 grid. It will depend on the budget criteria.

    Other teams should be thinking about investing into US drivers. Williams, Renault and Force India should be in consideration.

  5. Rubbish skills or not the team will fade away with out better drivers, American or not.

    1. Both Haas drivers are capable of producing far better results @ramjet but time is not on their side. The car will never be better than it is without Haas becoming a full constructor and I fully expect them to fade out from F1 if that doesn’t happen. Just by standing still they go backwards.

  6. The only American driver potentially gifted to drive in F1 is Newgarden, but he would need a few apprenticeship seasons. I don’t know if it’d be convenient for him to switch, given he is the brightest star in Indycar.
    Dixon could have done well, but is now too old.

    Other than them, no American driver is good enough. Not Rahal and, for god’s sake, not Andretti!

    1. Rossi is capable to re-enter Formula 1 because Manor gave him the minimum number of races under the old requirements right before the points system became in effect in 2016. So he still holds his Super-License.

    2. If F1 drivers were so vastly superior to IndyCar drivers they’d come over and dominate even in inferior equipment, and that is far from the case.

      1. Well, it has to be said that most of the drivers who have gone from F1 to race in Indycar were the ones who were thought to be amongst the weaker drivers on the F1 grid, such as Chilton and Gutierrez.

        Mind you, Chilton wasn’t blown away by the Indycar field either – he finished in 11th, being the third best driver in his team (beating Kimball) and only a few points behind Kanaan (a former winner of the Indycar series, albeit quite a few years ago now). I can see why people might think a bit negatively of Indycar if a driver who was considered to be mediocre in F1 is, whilst not being dominant, proving to be more competitive in Indycar than he was in F1.

      2. I can’t answer that for today Chip, but there have been some interesting forays from ‘over here’ to ‘over there’ I suppose the most famous would be Nigel Mansell’s back to back F1 & Champ Car Championships..In every comparison we have had up until the present day, the Indy car compares unfavourably with an F1 car and that’s possibly the reason for the continued lack of interest from ‘over here’ but now with hybrid technology, I am thinking that a direct comparison is invalid. That and ovals. Apart from a single tumbleweed blown track in the Midlands (with very low banking) we don’t ‘do’ ovals and there doesn’t ever seem to have been more than a passing interest. I see that Indycar now has far less ovals than they used to, so perhaps the 2 series are converging and with that, there’ll be more driver exchange. British drivers have fared quite well in Indycar, even if they weren’t top drawer F1 drivers. Chilton has been mentioned but there was Justin Wilson, Dan Wheldon (RIP) and a bevy of lesser known British drivers who have acquitted themselves well who are not even known here!

      3. Did you miss the Fernando Alonso performance? Guy totally dominated before his car broke down. Only had a few days of practice. I’m sorry, but I was amazed of how easy he came into your sport and just dominated guys that have been racing there so much longer.

        1. You and I have a VERY different idea of domination. He led laps but was in no way a dominant driver. But hey, only watched Inycars for close to 20 years now.

          Yes, after a season or two he’d be a champ for sure but dominant? Think you need to dial that back to realistic.

      4. Not necessarily. Although there are a lot of shared requirements, F1 and Indycars have a significant number of specialist skills. This is why most drivers entering them, regardless of background, need multiple seasons to get into whatever their best form in that series is going to be.

    3. @liko41 Rossi did well on the short time he spent in f1 and Dixon is a kiwi.

      1. ROssi did nothing special and wasn’t convincing enough to earn his spot in F1. Simple as that.
        And yes, I perfectly know Dixon is from NZ, thankyou.

        1. @liko41 Half the grid did nothing special to be in f1, Rossi did okay. And no apparently you forgot.

          1. It doesn’t matter what half of the grid did, we were talking about american drivers and, beside Newgarden, no one of them is ready for F1.
            Rossi is not.
            And I haven’t forgot anything.

  7. It’s been decades since “nation of origin” was an important component in F1, back when all the cars were painted in national colors, and so on. Now, the nationality of a driver is just a footnote, and only meaningful to the bean-counters and to the flag-waving “semi-fans.”

    And as far as Mario Andretti being the “most recent American F1 champion”; … he was Italian, born in Croatia, and a naturalized American citizen. It gets complicated.

    1. Like how Rosberg is German. I’m sure there are a few other, that’s the only one that comes to mind though.

      1. Romain Grosjean has both Swiss and French passports, and races under the latter.

        Pascal Wehrlein has both German and Mauritanian nationality, though I’m not sure if he has or has ever had a Mauritanian passport (he races with his German one).

        That’s just counting the 2017 grid, there will be others in F1’s history also.

      2. @lancer033 Jochen was Austrian but in reality he was German. It goes both ways.

  8. Let’s have a look at the results of the drivers Andretti & Co claim are ready for F1 in their earlier series, then let’s have a close look how competitive those series are.

    I would image Europe is a tougher training ground being smaller. Especially England.
    What’s the ratio of Americans in the Karting finals in Italy every season comapred to British, German, Belgian and Italian which all have their their own very high standard national karting championships, the best racks in the world where top drivers are able to attend all of the rounds. I can’t see the North American national Karting league being easy to negotiate logistically let alone financially.

    1. The World Karting Finals in Italy every season are considered essentially European (not World) to a certain type of thinking in the American karting world, so they don’t venture there in the sort of numbers that would be expected from an equal talent pool. They end up seeing it as an irrelevant distraction to their ambitions to get onto the Road to Indy or other American schemes, because they tend to take American results into account and don’t register events on the other side of the Atlantic to anything like the same degree.

      It’s similar to how American teams consider IMSA to be equal to or a higher level than ELMS in terms of difficulty level despite the former being a national championship and the latter an international one. The relationship between IMSA and WEC is more complicated; apart from Le Mans, American teams rarely consider going to WEC as they see it more as a distraction from their core focus than as a benefit in itself (sometimes, even Le Mans turns out to be a distraction from IMSA – ask Risi, for whom a Le Mans write-off cost them a third of a season in IMSA and is having knock-on effects on 2018…)

  9. Here you go then.

    Max Verstappen finished 8th in the 2012 World Karting Final in Japan.

    Drivers who finished above him were from, Italy, Britain, Japan and Poland.
    Not a single American is listed of 50 drivers

    1. ……

      Lance Stroll who won the European F3 championship in 2016 was racing against an American, Ryan Tveter who finished 17th.
      In 2017 Ryan finished 8th in GP3 which is his best series finish to date.

    2. In other words, not a single American was interested enough to sign up. If American drivers were as bad as all that, I’d expected at least one to make an attempt, finish low, and not be heard from in Europe again. To not turn up at all suggests they don’t see it as beneficial to their ambitions in the first place.

      At which point, it’s surprising there’s even a GP3 driver hailing from the USA, and given that both heirarchies have certain specialist skills (or at least emphasise different combinations of them), starting from a base of zero interest is always likely to have to go through a period of “low results” before getting “moderate results”, let alone “good results”.

  10. Just on a statistical basis there must be many Americans who are just as skilled as the rest of the world. It’s just tricky sorting out who they are when the big money for their domestic talent is earned in a racing series that prioritises close racing over sorting the men from the boys [Nascar].

    1. Equally skilled is one thing, but they really need to do their time as early as possible in European series where the coaching, experitse, infrastructure and more importantly competition is strongest in karting and single seaters. I think the key word is ‘development’

      A bit like cyclists from all over the world going to live and compete in Belgium for the same reasons as above.

      A similar but not perfect example, would be the footballers Suarez and Coutinho who were obviously as skilled as anyone around them but purchased for only around 7-8 million from outside of the UK, then ‘developed’ at Liverpool FC playing in the toughest competition, both emerging into oustanding players then sold to Barcelona for 10 and 20 times their original purchase price.

      1. Agree with you

  11. The US has many talented kids who have NASCAR blinding goggles on. Kyle Larson comes to mind. That kid had a choice in 2011. He could go the Indycar route, and his talent surely would have had him in a Haas seat, or NASCAR which is what he grew up watching. i don’t know what a US driver would do for F1 but if you get these kids at the right time and put them in a competitive seat, it would blow the US market up for F1. Kyle Larson is a 24 year old star in NASCAR now, but the next kid is out there wheeling something in the US right now. Lots of talent.

  12. I’m thinking similarly to a lot of people on here. There could be tons of American drivers who would excel in F1, but with such limited testing, it’s a big chance to give time to them over those from feeder series’. That said, isn’t it possible to test some of them on previous years’ cars? I don’t think there’s a limit on that, is there? You’d still get a solid idea of how fast they are.

    This might be WAY out there, but the NBA (and I think NFL… not sure) have the Draft Combine, where they test out most eligible amateurs in a bunch of different categories so that the teams have a good idea of what they’re looking at (beyond just college performance). It’s not perfect, but it helps. Maybe F1 could set up a weekend where they put a pile of drivers from all different categories, in identical cars, and measures them in various trials. They could turn it into an event, and it would give us a better idea of the talent that’s out there. If it was set up right, I’d be interested.

    1. “the NBA (and I think NFL… not sure [Yes, they have it too – Damon]) have the Draft Combine, where they test out most eligible amateurs in a bunch of different categories so that the teams have a good idea of what they’re looking at.”
      – They have the Draft Combine only because there is no hierarchical league structure the way it is in European sports, where there is a clearly defined ladder to climb from the smaller regional leagues, through lower national leagues up onto the 1st (aka premiere/extra) league, and the young players are evaluated at each level by the power of free market.

      Young American players spend 4 years in the college league and then, if they are not signed by an NBA/NFL team, they are released into a void with no clear career path, which ends them either going overseas or playing in one of many irrelevant minor leagues with no proper league experience. This is in case of basketball. Got no idea about gridiron football.

      “Maybe F1 could set up a weekend where they put a pile of drivers from all different categories, in identical cars, and measures them in various trials.”
      – Haha, that’s called a racing series, mate ;)

      1. @damon A racing series usually only puts them in one category per weekend, even if that is a spec series. What Spudster appears to be suggesting is to have them race many cars on the same weekend. So for example, they might throw 58 drivers (two heats, one final, with 52 total drivers, to include all drivers planning to race in F1 the following season and invites issued to others by team request or FIA invitation) into short races (30 minutes maximum per race, maybe even 15 minutes for the heats, with randomised qualifying, so that all sessions were race sessions) for:

        – mid-powered conventional European single-seater
        – mid-powered conventional American single-seater
        – an electric car
        – a sportscar
        – a touring car
        – a rally car
        – one or more “quirky” vehicles

        Over a three-day weekend, it would be possible to have eight, or possibly even more, different sorts of car used for such an endeavour (especially if the track could have slightly different configurations each day – even being able to use an alternate layout for some corners would help, but some tracks could potentially be very different in layout each day). Perhaps even require a minimum score in this for rookie/returning-after-long-break drivers to get their superlicences, instead of the current system.

  13. This is funny how American race drivers get offended by this statement.
    Mario Andretti was a great driver, and surely there are other talented ones right now. But let’s face it, there is a lot of Europeans drivers as good and available right now.
    And looks like everybody is blaming Haas but at least they have an American driver in the team, Santino Ferrucci. They try to bring US drivers in F1 and get blamed…

    1. Rahal is just mad that they implied American IndyCar drivers were unqualified for F1 when Haas won’t give them a phone call let alone a test drive.

  14. Whether there are or are not american drivers is a bit moot point. The realities are as follows in my opinion:

    1. Haas could really benefit from having an american in the team. Doing that could help it a lot in its home race for example.

    2. Haas would want something equally as good as what they have now when it comes to driver choices. The thing is if you are a successful indycar driver a haas seat is a downgrade. It is not a competitive car in f1 and f1 is going through one of its worst performance balance eras. The top teams are totally in their own division with mid field in their own division and the rest barely surviving. It is almost impossible to prove your worth. At least 20 years ago you could luck into points or even podium if things went perfect. Now that perfect race is p11 or p10 if you are extremely lucky. Going into a team that is at the rear end of that mid field group could even kill your career as a driver. If you are a top indycar driver your best bet is to stay where you are.

    3. Any kind of offer for just practice sessions drives is not necessarily a good thing. It could hurt haas because their own drivers have to give that session away. It would not really help the driver either as nobody cares about practice session lap times and the time sacrifice a driver needs to make could hurt his chances to race somewhere else.

    In the end I think it is really difficult to get a top american driver into f1. You’d need a driver willing to sacrifice his career in america and a team willing to take a risk. And a successful season in haas would probably be something like couple of p6 positions, tons of retirements and mostly finishes outside of top10. Not really a jumping stone into success.

  15. Two questions to anyone that thinks Indy are just as good as F1.

    1. How many Indy car drivers went to that series because they didn’t make it in F1? Either lost their F1 seat or never quiet made it there.

    2. How many F1 drivers are in F1 because they failed to get to or lost their seat in another series?

    1. 3. How many drivers in not just IndyCar but series around the world never wanted to be in F1?

      As I mentioned above, the F1 drivers who have come to IndyCar haven’t exactly dominated. There are great drivers in both series.

    2. Got to agree with you. Steiner’s statements might be harsh… but most definitely true. Let’s review some of the American drivers we’ve had over the last 10 years – Scott Speed and Alexander Rossi. Both of them struggled to find any success in Formula 1. They were among the poorest drivers on the grid on the F1 grid, yet they managed to taste a lot of success in Indycar and other American racing series.

      Fernando Alonso took a weekend off to race in the most challenging Indycar circuit as a rookie. He probably would have won it in his first time around if it wasn’t for his engine failure. He was racing against hard veterans of Indycar, but he trumped nearly all of them in his first attempt. Takuma Sato, a mediocre ex-F1 driver ended up winning that race.

      I just don’t think Indycar as a series is as challenging as Formula 1. The level of technology in F1 cars and the fine tuned skill set required to race in F1 is a league above Indycar. If you’ve maximised your skill set over the years to race well in Indycar, you’ve not really pushed yourself to the same perfectionist levels required in Formula 1. So, you can’t expect to join Formula 1 and be competitive. An F1 driver though, just needs to adapt to a new machine.

      Got to agree with Steiner even though it hurts the sentiments of American drivers. I can’t think of a single driver on the Indycar grid that is impressive enough to warrant an F1 seat.

      1. I can’t think of a single driver on the IndyCar grid who could bring enough money to buy an F1 seat as so many have.

      2. Alonso spent a month preparing for the 500, and four of his teammates ran faster qualifying laps. Plus he was in by far the best car. Plus he’s thought by many to be the best driver in the world, why shouldn’t do well?

        1. 1 month to prepare for his 1st oval race which is also one of the biggest races in the world against guys who have been doing it their whole professional lives and he was in the hunt to win the whole thing until Honda did what they do best and blew up.

          Also, there are plenty of guys that grew up watching the Indy 500 and that was their dream and they never tried for anything else. Nothing wrong with that. There is plenty of good talent in Indy and I don’t want to take that away. Just saying that if you compare the Indy drivers to F1 drivers as a whole, there is much more talent in F1.

          Another thing to think about, F1 drivers have to help develop a car from scratch which is a much more complex task than simply finding the right setup on a spec car.

          1. Yeah, cause the driver is the key there. Drivers have not been the key to developing the cars since telemetry. Listen to the team radio and hear the engineer tell the driver what he needs and NEVER the driver say I need this. The drivers always whine the car is a pig/dog/junior series/etc.

    3. Since Mansell how many ex-F1 drivers have been IndyCar champion? If it’s so much easier than F1 you’d expect them to beat everyone but that doesn’t happen. The reason mediocre ex-F1 drivers occasionally win is because the cars are closely matched and they can catch a lucky break now and then.

      1. That said, even though the cars are a standard specification, the Indycar series is still mostly dominated by a few teams – Penske, Chip Ganassi and Andretti still take the lions share of victories and titles (you have to go back to 2002 to find a time when somebody other than a driver for one of those three teams won the title), so the playing field isn’t necessarily completely level.

    4. How many IndyCar drivers are there because they could not attract enough sponsors to afford to join the European cartel.
      The majority of great IndyCar drivers over the last 20 years have not been American anyway, so pretty irrelevent

    5. I cannot think of a single direct crossover in either direction that involved losing a drive (as opposed to voluntarily combining the two, or going via another series) since Juan Pablo Montoya towards Indycars and Sebastian Bourdais towards F1. Both of which were solidly in the previous decade. So… zero and zero.

  16. My recollection of watching Indycar was all their drivers carried the logos of lots of sponsors on their fireproof suit and on their car. I haven’t compared an F1 car to an Indycar in terms of performance, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find an F1 car is faster, but when it comes to economics I wouldn’t be surprised if your average Indycar was more successful than your average F1 car.

  17. It could be that Andretti is right about Steiner being wrong – I am not in a position to judge that – but I really struggle with arrogant part. In what way can what Steiner said be seen as arrogant? Anyone able to shine some light on that?

    1. Probably the general elitist attitude some in the F1 community have toward IndyCar.

    2. Arrogant to think American drivers are inferior, as opposed to being specialised to their preferred series and unwilling to jump into a F1 car on whatever terms Haas has in mind.

  18. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    14th January 2018, 15:12

    I think F1 is extremely demanding – even if a driver is incredibly quick and talented, it’s very possible to just fizzle in F1. I think Webber had talked about that recently and how you need to be good across the entire spectrum to succeed in F1. I think the whole world would benefit from having a top US driver in F1.

    This discussion pretty much proves Steiner’s statement as we haven’t seen a list of US drivers that people think could excel in F1. Scott Dixon’s been mentioned but he’s from New Zealand. I’m not sure why the US can’t produce good soccer players or drivers anymore but we are having the same issue in tennis which is strange when you consider the ages of McEnroe, Connors, Sampras, Agassi…

    It’s also strange how some countries tend to produce so many champions and others can’t.

  19. Glad they’re not wasting their time at the back of the grid in a crap noncompetitive F1 car! It would just take away from IndyCar, which has tons better racing.

  20. And so why don’t those Americans get together and form their own team with their own American drivers. That’d show ’em. The cauld call themselves Team America.

  21. If you’re not talented enough you will need money, if you’re fantastic F1 will call you and give you a free seat. If there’s no American driver in F1 is because either the current crop ain’t talented enough or rich enough.

    1. Free seats in F1 are now very rare for rookies. I think there may be six seats that *might* be available on that basis (the four Red Bull/Toro Rosso ones, and for the right candidate one each at Force India and Renault), the majority of which are usually filled by non-rookies of various types. Nowadays, salaried seats are mostly reserved for non-rookies.

      Given that some seats are changing hands for $40 million, I can easily believe that the current crop of good American racers isn’t rich enough to be interested – that sort of money would buy them a career in Indycar (and if they’re that good, they’d need terrible luck to spend even half of that to get to the point where they started receiving a salary and reasonable merchandising/personal sponsorship support).

  22. A lot of it has to do with exposure. The NASCAR Monster Series is where most of the American drivers who are good lean towards because of the money and exposure they get. I love Indycar, it too has a good pool of American talent, but you see more drivers leaving to go and do NASCAR than the other way around. The last driver of note being Montoya at the end of 2014, and as good as he is, he is now knocking on forty three years old.
    F1 is still seen in America as a European based championship, with a largely European audience and fanbase. If you are a football fan from Salford you are going to want to play for Manchester United, not for a team four thousand miles away. Its a comfort zone kind of deal.
    However to say that American drivers are not good enough for F1 is a nonsense, as it is to say that European drivers could not drive in an American series through a lack of talent. A top driver, as Fernando Alonso proved last year, can thrive in any series no matter where that series is.

  23. If you don’t have lots of money or Red Bull or Ferrari backing the chances of getting a drive in F1 these days is virtually zero. It shows the sorry state F1 is in when Stroll has a drive in F1 (in a team he virtually owns) and Wehrlein doesn’t. So IndyCar is a good alternative, even with Watkins Glen off the calendar this year.

Comments are closed.