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.

Patrick, who is joining the coverage of this weekend's US Grand Prix at Austin with Sky Sports F1/ESPN, 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.com.

"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."

Read Also:

Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda

Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda

Photo by: Phillip Abbott / Motorsport Images

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

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

Related video

Newey on top of Red Bull F1 set-up woes after bike crash recovery
Previous article

Newey on top of Red Bull F1 set-up woes after bike crash recovery

Next article

Ferrari: P3 in championship clear target after gains on McLaren

Ferrari: P3 in championship clear target after gains on McLaren
Load comments
Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

An ill-tempered Saudi Grand Prix made Formula 1 more soap opera than sporting spectacle at times, but there were some strong performances up and down the field on the world championship's first visit to Jeddah

How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series Prime

How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series

The inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a race packed full of incident as Formula 1 2021's title contenders repeatedly clashed on track. Lewis Hamilton won out over Max Verstappen to level the scores heading into next weekend's Abu Dhabi finale, as Jeddah turned F1 into a drama series

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance Prime

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance

Dropped by Red Bull last season, Alexander Albon has fought back into a Formula 1 seat with Williams. ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains what Albon has done to earn the place soon to be vacated by the highly rated George Russell

Formula 1
Dec 5, 2021
The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes Prime

The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton...

Formula 1
Dec 4, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Prime

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Prime

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Prime

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Motorsport.com's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer Tim Wright explains.

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021