Danica Patrick: US needs American F1 driver, wants Herta on grid

Former IndyCar and NASCAR racer Danica Patrick says Formula 1 needs an American driver to boost its US reputation, and wants to see IndyCar star Colton Herta make the move.

Danica Patrick: US needs American F1 driver, wants Herta on grid

Patrick, who is joining Sky Sports F1's coverage of this weekend's US Grand Prix at Austin, says the sport has grown a lot of the past few years thanks to the success of Netflix's Drive to Survive series.

"I definitely think that the Netflix series Drive to Survive has been a big deal," Patrick told Motorsport.TV.

"I've had so many people over the years come to me and say: 'Hey, have you seen that? Did you see that? Wow, I'm super interested in Formula 1 now.'

"I think that it humanises, that it gives it storylines, it's a way to really try and understand what's going on in the sport."

The Netflix show forms part of a wide-ranging effort by F1's American owners Liberty Media to boost the sport in North America.

In 2022 F1 will add a second US race, the Miami Grand Prix, in addition to Austin's US GP, with exploratory talks about a potential third American date still ongoing.

Asked what F1 needs to make the next step in popularity, Patrick believes the championship needs a competitive American driver to give US fans more reasons to follow the sport.

"If there was an American driver that they could cheer for, then I think that what you'd see is more coverage here," she explained.

"Whether it be you know, late night TV magazines, morning news, just sports coverage in general; there'd be a reason to cover it, and I think that would definitely help."

The current IndyCar driver who is most often mentioned in the same breath as F1 is Colton Herta.

Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda

Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda

Photo by: Phillip Abbott / Motorsport Images

In 2019 the Californian became the youngest-ever IndyCar race winner at the age of 18 and he has since grown into one of the championship's main contenders with Andretti Autosport.

Multiple sources have indicated that Michael Andretti's powerhouse team is closing in on a deal to take a majority stake in the Alfa Romeo F1 team, becoming the second US-owned team on the grid along with Haas.

An Andretti expansion to F1 would provide 21-year-old Herta with an obvious pathway back to Europe, where he spent the 2016 season racing in various Formula 3 championships with Carlin.

Patrick backs a potential F1 switch for Herta, saying it would be a "great opportunity" for the six-time IndyCar race winner.

"Definitely, if it's something that you want to do and you feel like you have an opportunity to do well, I mean, he's not going to become a worse driver when he's gone," she added.

"If it doesn't work out for him, usually Formula 1 drivers have quite a bit of credibility to try and come over and drive an IndyCar.

"So, I think it's a totally great opportunity, and especially if it's something that he's really excited about, I think that's really cool.

"And to have it be all American, I think that'd be great. I'd love to see how that goes."

Watch Danica Patrick at the US GP in Austin exclusively live in the UK on Sky Sports F1 on Sunday 24 October.

shares
comments
Newey on top of Red Bull’s F1 set-up headaches after injury return
Previous article

Newey on top of Red Bull’s F1 set-up headaches after injury return

Next article

Wolff: DNFs will make the difference in F1 championship fight

Wolff: DNFs will make the difference in F1 championship fight
Load comments
The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move Plus

The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move

OPINION: Uncertainty over Lewis Hamilton's future has persisted since the race direction call that denied him an eighth world title in Abu Dhabi last month. But while walking away would be understandable, Hamilton has time and again responded well in the face of adversity and possesses all the tools needed to bounce back stronger than ever

What the FIA must do to restore F1’s credibility Plus

What the FIA must do to restore F1’s credibility

OPINION: The first stage of the 2022 Formula 1 pre-season is just over a month away, but the championship is still reeling from the controversial results of last year’s finale. The FIA acknowledges F1 has had its reputation dented as a result, so here’s how it could go about putting things right

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2022
The six F1 subplots to watch in 2022 as a new era begins Plus

The six F1 subplots to watch in 2022 as a new era begins

As Formula 1 prepares to begin a new era of technical regulations in 2022, Autosport picks out six other key elements to follow this season

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2022
Why newly-retired Raikkonen won't miss F1 Plus

Why newly-retired Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Autosport on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2022
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup Plus

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. Autosport breaks down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems Plus

Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway. But instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Plus

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Plus

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. JAMES NEWBOLD hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwarts

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022