Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali says the sport has been working with teams on trying to find ways of identifying American drivers, but doesn’t expect to see one on the grid in the next few years.
The last American driver to start a grand prix was Alexander Rossi, who took part in five races for Marussia in 2015 (main image), but despite Liberty Media’s ownership there has not been another in the six seasons since. Following the addition of a second race in Miami, Domenicali told investors on a Liberty Media Q1 earnings call that an American driver is a priority, but that he doesn’t expect it to happen quickly.
“We have working with teams to really try and understand what is the possibility for American drivers to come to the attention of Formula 1 teams in the short-term,” Domenicali said. “This could come. I don’t think, being very pragmatic or realistic, it is coming in the next two-to-three years. But maybe after, yes.
“I know that there are teams watching the good drivers. If they are ready (it) will be a big boost for the American fans, because as we know, faces, drivers, they put enthusiasm and passion, and the people want to see these guys. Therefore the hope we have is, very, very soon, we have American drivers competing against all the others in the Formula 1 championship.”
While there are no Americans competing in Formula 2 this year, there are currently four in the FIA Formula 3 championship.
Domenicali’s quotes come in the wake of a recent focus on Colton Herta’s Formula 1 potential, but the former Ferrari boss was also asked about the impact Lewis Hamilton’s eventual departure will have on F1.
“With regard to Lewis, for sure Lewis is a great asset, he is doing an incredible job on the sporting side, and in terms of image, he was able to grow Formula 1 in other areas not related to Formula 1,” he said. “But Formula 1 itself is strong. Driver champions are always in a place where one day they may retire.
“I don’t know what Lewis will do We have talked with him, but of course now he is focused on his actual season to make sure he will be the only driver to have won eight titles in the history of Formula 1. But Formula 1 is solid, robust, and for sure whatever will be the last season of Lewis, Formula 1 will react and move forward.
“The good news is that if Lewis, as we all hope, will stay, he will have an incredible season in front of him with new cars and a new challenge (in 2022). If he will decide a different way, the good news in Formula 1 is that we have so many good drivers today that at least the challenge and the chance will be even stronger, so whatever will be the decision of Lewis, we will respect (it). But Formula 1 is really solid and strong.”