Christian Horner insists Formula 1 needs an ‘American Max Verstappen’ as he snubs rookie

Logan Sargeant will be the first American F1 driver on the grid this season since Alexander Rossi in 2015.

Since Liberty Media took over Formula 1 in 2017, the growth of the sport in the USA has been phenomenal.

Helped by the popularity of Netflix’s ‘Drive to Survive’, the American motorsport fanbase has begun to embrace Formula 1 in the same way it does NASCAR and IndyCar.

Having traditionally only ever hosted one race on the calendar every season, the USA featured races in both Austin and Miami last season, with the latter being one of the most spectacular events in F1 history.

A couple more huge strides forwards will be made this season as not only will there be a third USA race hosted in Las Vegas on the calendar, there will be an American driver on the grid for the first time since 2015.

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After securing enough super licence points in the Formula 2 finale last year, exciting American rookie Logan Sargeant has signed for Williams to replace the underperforming Nicholas Latifi.

While the introduction of an American driver is expected to increase American’s interest in Formula 1, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has explained that the impact of Sargeant’s arrival will be limited due to his limited capabilities at Williams.

“Imagine if there was an American Max Verstappen. What we need is a young, talented, competitive American driver,” Horner told the New York Post.

“It’s great to have him there and he’s a talented young guy [but] he’s going to be limited in what he can do.

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“The problem is, if you’re finishing 14th or 15th it doesn’t really turn people on.

“I think if he was fighting at the front in a competitive car, then you’d see what happened with Fernando [Alonso] in Spain, or Checo [Perez] and the reaction in Mexico.

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“So that’s what we need: an American driver fighting for victories and World Championships.”

Americans fighting for championships may not be as far away as some would expect, with the Andretti-Cadillac team backed to be competitive if they do enter F1 in the future.

It is unsure which drivers the team would target to lead the team, however with Mario and Michael Andretti leading the project, Andretti-Cadillac would join Haas as another American team on the grid.