[F1 2019 VIDEO FEATURE] AMERICAN DRIVERS: THE NEXT F1 STAR

Grand Prix racing may be a European sport, with its birthplace in France and its most legendary marque, Ferrari, Italian. 

But the United States of America is no stranger to the competition with a long list of racers, 156, having competed at the pinnacle of motorsport.

The nation is second only to Great Britain in terms of total numbers, just seven behind - and 55 clear of third-placed Italy. But the majority of them only raced in the Indianapolis 500… 

…when it formed part of the F1 World Championship from 1950 to 1960.

Just 18 American drivers raced in 11 or more Grands Prix with 33 events won by a racer competing under the stars and stripes.

… and just two pilots have gone on to join the FIA’s Hall of Fame as F1 World Champions, Phil Hill with Ferrari… 

And the most successful of all… racing icon Mario Andretti, who won his first race for the Prancing Horse, but had his biggest highlights including the 1978 crown with Lotus.

SOUNDBITE (English) JAMES ALLEN,
F1 JOURNALIST:
"What’s your proudest achievement, do you think?”

SOUNDBITE (English) MARIO ANDRETTI,
1978 F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
"Probably winning the US Grand Prix and the Italian Grand Prix the same year."

Just five drivers earned multiple victories in the sport, with Dan Gurney on four, one ahead of Hill. The American remembered for his glorious Eagle T1G racing car, and the invention of the Gurney flap.

In terms of the future, F2 racer Juan Manuel Correa continues to recover from his injuries sustained at the Belgian Grand Prix.

…while in FIA F3, Logan Sargeant scored four top-10 appearances in his debut season in the revitalised junior category.

The next American F1 star, however, may come from IndyCar…. with the champion earning 40 superlicense points, guaranteeing he can jump over. Penske’s Josef Newgarden qualifying in 2019…. with Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi already a five-time F1 starter.

The sport is keen to make waves in the USA, but to make a real impact it needs a local driver. The race is on to bring an American back to F1.