It’s been over 15 years since an American driver competed at a U.S. Grand Prix with a full-time Formula One seat. Scott Speed finished 13th in 2007, and the drought continues in 2022 as fans anticipate Floridian rookie Logan Sargeant‘s debut at the Miami Grand Prix. Sargeant, who left Florida at 22 to chase his dream of racing in Europe, is one of few American drivers to have made it into the feeder series for F1, Formula 2.
Racing Driver Alexander Rossi is one of the rare Americans who has worked their way up the junior-formula ladder with an eye on making it into F1. In recent years, Rossi has gained success in IndyCar, winning eight races, but the 31-year-old appeared in just five F1 races in 2015 for Manor Marussia.
The scarcity of American-born drivers in the junior formulas that lead to F1 is due to several factors. Up until the popular Netflix docuseries “Drive to Survive,” the sport hasn’t been particularly popular in the U.S. for several decades. Cost is also a barrier, with a seat in F2 setting budding drivers back more than $3 million a season. But the biggest impediment is geography, which is why young talents need to go to F1 and its feeder series rather than racing coming to them.
Sargeant and Colton Herta, who moved to England at 14 for an English motorsport education, exemplify why many young drivers leave their homes in pursuit of F1. The region northwest of London provides jobs for more than 40,000 people in the field of motorsports, with seven of F1‘s 10 teams based in England.
Three of F1‘s current grid notably race under the Union Jack due to the attraction for young drivers to learn in the home of the sport. More American drivers may follow soon with three more drivers flying the Stars and Stripes in F2 this season.
Recent events have shown that F1 in the U.S. is gaining massive popularity since the sport’s less successful days a couple of decades ago. Last year’s Miami GP was a sellout, the Austin race was nearly at record attendance levels, and the upcoming Las Vegas Grand Prix in November is already almost sold out. Fans and drivers have developed a desire to make F1 thrive in the U.S, and Logan Sargeant represents the next American driver to potentially hold a full-time F1 seat if he can prove himself on the Track.