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Formula 1 Needs American Drivers and American Teams: Fan’s View
The love the excitement of Formula 1 racing. The more I learn about the history of the sport, the more I see how it used to have much more of a presence in America, with many more Grand Prix races held on American soil. In addition to races at American tracks, Formula 1 has had many American-owned teams and cars built by American companies.
The current, modern sport of Formula 1 racing is almost completely European, with most Formula 1 teams based in Europe. The exclusive club of Formula 1 drivers is also almost exclusively European (16 out of 28 drivers are from Europe), with the occasional Brazilian, Japanese, Australian and Finnish driver as well (also Russia, Venezuela, Mexico and India).
I want to see more Formula 1 races in the U.S. and more coverage on television and in the American media. While I think staging a race here, as is planned for this year, is great, we need more to really get the American racing fans behind the sport.
To really bring back Formula 1 interest here in the U.S. it's going to take more than a American Grand Prix race. It's going to take an American driver to be included in the Formula 1 calendar and it's going to take an American-owned team or manufacturer. We need Ford, Chrysler or Chevrolet to sponsor and manufacture a competitive Formula 1 car and team. Imagine the excitement of American fans if Danica Patrick switched over to Formula 1 racing. Or if Ford announced it was getting into Formula 1 racing. I think events like that would suddenly attract a huge audience that Formula 1 lacks.
In 2009, a US F1 Team was formed and was even approved to race in Formula 1 for the 2010 season. Financial and other issues apparently prevented the team from ever entering a race and the team eventually folded. New owners planned to enter the 2011 season, but that never happened either.
The last American driver in Formula 1 was Scott Speed, who raced for Toro Rosso in 2006 and 2007, before being replaced by current champion Sebastian Vettel. Speed was dropped after he didn't score a single point after two years in F1. We need a serious, competitive driver who can seriously compete with Vettel for the championship.
A lifetime auto racing fan, Freddy Sherman collects vintage muscle cars and attends races and rally events in the U.S. and around the world. You can follow him on twitter - @thefredsherman.
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