Formula 1 has a moment in America. Viewership has grown in the US, US fans are invested in the sport, F1 is responding with three US races in 2023, and there are several US drivers and teams all set to enter the sport , including Formula 2 driver Logan SargeantIndy car driver Colton Hertaand owner of a motorsport team Michael Andretti. Today we are going to see where each driver or team is on the road to F1.
Considering the traditional F1 ladder that sees Formula 3 lead to Formula 2 and finally F1, Logan Sargeant is the closest American driver to F1. With several karting championships under his belt, third places in Macau and the Formula 3 championship, and a current F2 points tally which puts him in third place with the possibility of moving up to second place after a good weekend. end, Sargeant proved to be a formidable competitor.
We have sadly seen those careers fizzle out just before or shortly after their arrival on the F1 scene, the most recent example being Alexander Rossi, who finished second in the 2015 GP2 series before contesting a handful of F1 races. F1 with Manor Marussia. Rossi was not re-signed for the following season, seeing him head to IndyCar instead.
Will this happen to Sargeant? This could, but Sargeant has something Rossi never had: a place in an F1 drivers’ academy. Sargeant is currently signed up with the Williams team and will make his F1 practice debut at the US Grand Prix weekend in October, bringing him ever closer to a coveted full-time F1 seat.
Sargeant also has more than enough points to get a super license for 2023, which other US options lack. And with Nicholas Latifi likely out of the picture at Williams for 2023, Sargeant is an excellent choice if the team is aiming to pick a driver from its academy lineup. He’s proven he can be competitive wherever he runs, outplaying his teammates time and time again.
is Williams the ideal choice to showcase the talents of America’s next great prospect? Considering the team currently sits 10th in the F1 Constructors’ Championship, probably not – but a foot in the door and the ability to establish himself as a desirable driver cannot be overstated.
While Colton Herta has been rumored to join the Formula 1 grid for several years, his hopes have really started to materialize this season, first with potential F1 team Andretti Autosport and now with AlphaTauri.
During the Belgian Grand Prix weekend, Helmut Marko mentioned that Herta was in the picture to join the F1 grid if current driver Pierre Gasly was released by the team to race for Alpine in 2023. There is however one big problem: Herta doesn’t have enough points to earn a super license, which is required to compete in F1.
Motorsport.comhowever, today reports that the FIA is “considering Herta’s credentials”, meaning The Powers That Be could award Herta a superlicense based not on the current point allocation system, but on another, currently unspecified, metric.
That being said, Herta is pretty close to a superlicense. He currently has 32 points, with 40 being the target mark. He can also earn up to six points by participating in F1 1 free practice sessions for the rest of the year (not counting, of course, the upcoming Dutch and Italian Grands Prix, which clash with IndyCar).
However, the FIA does not need precise figures. From Motorsport.com:
Importantly, the FIA has given itself some leeway, as an ISC clause notes that a superlicense could still go to a driver who misses the other qualifications. This is the case if they have “scored a minimum of 30 superlicense points but deemed in the sole determination of the FIA to be unable to qualify under any of points a) to c) above, while participating to one or more of the championships listed in Supplement 1, due to circumstances beyond their control or force majeure.
Where does this come into play for Herta? Well, if he applied for a full-season super license, he could count the best three of his competitive seasons through 2018 for the total. The big problem, however, is that his second-place finish at Indy Lights that year doesn’t currently count, as there were less than 10 drivers competing that season.
This, however, was beyond Herta’s control. The FIA could theoretically authorize the counting of these 12 points. He could then score 20 points for 2020 and eight for 2021, giving him 40 points — enough for a superlicence.
Clearly the folks in the F1 paddock aren’t happy, with a source saying: “If [Herta] gets a license, you might as well stop investing in F3 and F2.
It’s entirely possible that we could see Herta in Formula 1 next year – but F1 and the FIA would have to be very motivated to sign it on all possible applicants who currently hold a superlicense.
The Andretti Autosport Formula 1 team
Michael Andretti has fielded successful teams in everything from IndyCar to Australian Supercars, but his next big goal is to enter a competitive team in Formula 1, making this team one of two American teams on the gate. Andretti initially aimed to join the sport by 2024, but current teams have backed off significantly, mainly due to money.
You see, any new team wishing to enter the F1 grid must pay an ‘anti-dilution’ fee of $200m, which will be spread across all 10 current teams. These fees exist because, at the end of a racing season, F1 pays teams from two separate pools. One group sees teams rewarded for their final position in the Constructors’ Championship. The second pool is divided equally between all the teams. Adding an 11th team would ultimately dilute the payout pool, and the anti-dilution fee really only covers two years of that dilution.
Andretti’s argument that adding an American team – one tied to such a legendary name as ‘Andretti’ – would ultimately capitalize on the burgeoning US F1 fan market better than existing teams, which would result in more benefits for everyone, even with the addition of an additional team.
Existing teams have reason to be skeptical, however. Haas F1 is also an American team, and with the exception of a few local activations during the United States Grand Prix race weekend and some of the most notable characters from the Netflix docuseries. Drive to survive, the team didn’t really bring a huge influx of fans or money to F1. Now, if the team intends to join F1, it will likely arrive at a later date – possibly coinciding with the introduction of new regulations in 2026.
A growing American presence in F1 is terrifyingly close. Here’s hoping we’ll see it increase in the near future.