Two-time IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden laments the fact that Formula 1 looks down on American drivers, insisting the pinnacle of motorsport lives in a bubble in Europe.
For all the legendary American drivers rooted in the history of motorsport, the country has only contributed two world champions to F1’s 70-year history: Phil Hill and Mario Andretti.
The most recent American driver to compete in Formula 1 is Alexander Rossi, who entered five races with Marussia F1 in 2015.
However, Rossi left Grand Prix racing at the end of the season to compete in IndyCar where he went on to win the Indy 500 in 2016.
In 2018, Guenther Steiner, the team manager of US outfit Haas, suggested that there were no drivers currently in the US ready for a promotion to F1, a comment that sparked an angry reaction on the other side of the Atlantic, with the likes of Andretti calling Steiner’s stance “wrong and arrogant”.
Newgarden cut his teeth on European tracks during his early years in the sport, racing in British Formula Ford and in the then GP3 championship.
The Penske driver would have gladly remained in Europe and perhaps tried his hand at F1 had he not run out of funding.
“Yeah, definitely. When I was 17, I got to go to Europe,” he told the New York Times.
“I wanted to stay over there and try for Formula 1. I did really well, but then ran out of money after my second year.
“Formula 1 is very glitzy and glamorous, but if you’re not in a Ferrari or a Mercedes you might as well not show up. There’s zero chance you’re going to win the race. That’s demoralizing.”
Given a decent opportunity, Newgarden would still like to give F1 a shot, but the 29-year-old feels there’s still prejudice against American drivers.
“I’d like to do it. But nowadays, it’s kind of hard for any American,” he added. “There’s a Formula 1 bubble in Europe.
“I’ll be honest, they look down on Americans a bit over there. It’s really silly.
“There’s American talent that if they got the right seat at the right time, they could win championships, no problem.”