Mario Andretti has identified IndyCar driver Colton Herta as the man he would like to see become America’s next Formula 1 driver.
Following the announcement of a second race to take place in the United States from 2022 in Miami, the 1978 World Champion would “love to see” America represented by having a driver on the grid.
While Haas are a fully-fledged American team, Alexander Rossi was the last American driver to be on the F1 grid when he had five grand prix outings in 2015.
Three-time IndyCar race winner Herta, 21, is the youngest ever winner of a race in the series and has previously spoken of his desire to drive for Ferrari or Red Bull in the future.
Not just for the prestige of racing in the premier division of motorsport but to represent the United States in one of the big growth areas for the sport.
“I think it would be awesome,” he said last year. “I think this is one of the markets [where] F1 lacks. It’s a huge market. I think you can see the TV numbers in the US aren’t actually amazing for what you would think Formula 1 would get.
“So I think if having that US driver can push the market forward and drive the market, I think it would be very beneficial for Formula 1.”
Andretti also believes Herta has the motorsport pedigree to be able to compete in Formula 1, with the way he has conducted himself in IndyCar alongside the previous categories in which he has competed.
“As a young lad, his dad sent him to Europe, he was doing Formula 3 and he knows most of the circuits there, for one thing, and he’s trained,” said Andretti, via CNBC.
“He’s showed in his rookie season in IndyCar and he won some premium races like [in Austin]…beat two of the very best Indy has to offer.
“The entire race, he held off Will Power and Scott Dixon. This is one kid I’d love to see him get a break over there because to the U.S colours again, Formula 1 is like the Olympics in a sense.”
With repeated attempts to take the sport to America, the Circuit of the Americas in Austin has become a very popular venue on the calendar since its first race in 2012 and Andretti believes more recent steps have helped to improve the standing of Formula 1 in the States.
“I think Liberty [Media] has done a lot of good things with the F1 series, including that Netflix show,” he added. “That has done wonders for F1 and people understanding more what it’s about.”
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