Formula 1 teams have a “single-minded” approach to looking at future drivers and should pay serious attention to those in IndyCar, according to Max Chilton.
Alexander Rossi was the last American to race in F1 but lost out on a full-time Manor drive in 2016, switching to IndyCar and going on to win that year’s Indy 500. With 2017 IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden stating his desire to do a year in F1 at some stage in his career, recent comments by Haas team principal Guenther Steiner claiming there isn’t an American ready for a race seat led to a strong backlash on social media from the likes of Graham Rahal and Conor Daly.
Asked during an interview with ESPN what is stopping F1 teams from considering drivers from IndyCar, Chilton replied: “I don’t think it’s down to Josef, I think it’s down to Formula 1.
“F1 personnel are quite single-minded in the way they look for their drivers – they either already have to be on their way up to Formula 1 or already be on their team program or something.
“They rarely look at other drivers away from who’s racing in Europe. That’s wrong – I don’t think there’s [another] reason why they don’t [look to IndyCar].”
Former Ganassi driver Chilton – who will race for Carlin in IndyCar this year – believes it isn’t just American talents that are being wrongly overlooked.
“Scott Dixon, who was my teammate last year, I think he’s one of the best drivers in the world and he could give anyone a run for their money in a Formula 1 car. But no one has ever given him a look-in, like when there was a seat going at Mercedes.
“It needs a culture change for them to look at IndyCar drivers as a possibility, and I hope there is because there are world-class drivers that are being wasted, and could be doing even bigger things in the public eye in Formula 1 – and doing better than some of the people already there.”
In an interview with RACER last May, James Hinchcliffe also admitted he would love to test a Formula 1 car but believes the limited number of race-winning seats makes the series a less attractive proposition to race in full-time compared to IndyCar.