Johansson: An American fighting for F1 title would be “massive”

Stefan Johansson believes that having an American driver competing for the Formula 1 World Championship would be huge for the sport, but that Liberty has already cracked the U.S. market.

The 2022 F1 schedule will include two races in America for the first time since 1984, with a new event in Miami joining the round at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, TX, first held in 2012.

However, there are currently no U.S. drivers on the F1 grid. Alexander Rossi was the last American to start a Grand Prix back in 2015, while the last American full-timer in F1 was Scott Speed in 2006-’07. Michael Andretti, who recently withdrew his attempt to buy the Alfa Romeo/Sauber team, had planned to transfer Colton Herta from his IndyCar team to F1, but the deal fell through last month.

Ex-Ferrari and ex-McLaren driver Johansson told Motorsport.tv’s Juliana Chiovitti that he believed a U.S. presence on the grand prix grid would be helpful, but only if he or she is prominent.

“Certainly it would help tremendously,” said the 65-year-old Swede, “but it has to be a good one. You can’t just have someone who’s at the back of the grid.

“If someone is actually fighting for the championship it will be massive, I think.

“But I think Liberty has done a terrific job. I think they’ve finally cracked the code here in America with this Netflix show [Drive to Survive]. I don’t know about you, but I meet people almost daily now who are ‘experts’ on Formula 1 after watching Netflix – which is great!

“COTA had the biggest crowd ever, maybe the biggest crowd of any Formula 1 race.”

Johansson also praised Indy car racing, in which he raced from 1992 through ’96. He remains a close observer and regular attendee at NTT IndyCar Series races, as manager of six-time champion Scott Dixon, race-winner Felix Rosenqvist and Road To Indy rising star Rasmus Lindh.

“I’m a huge fan of IndyCar because the competition rules are about as good as they can get, I think,” he commented. “The racing’s so close and no one really has a huge advantage, so it’s whoever gets it right on the day. Literally anyone can win on a given day – you roll the dice on strategy and the race just falls in your lap, or it can be the other way around, of course.

“That’s what I love about IndyCar, it’s so competitive and, to be honest, it’s really hard to make any predictions.

“But the cream always rises to the top. Scott had a bad a year last year, but I know he’s extremely hungry like he’s always been and unbelievably motivated. He’s going to be back and in good shape.

“Felix the same. He had a horrible start to the year, but he figured the car out as the year went by, and I think there’s been some changes in the team as well. So I think he’s incredibly motivated as well.

“But there’s another 25 really good guys there so anything can happen really.”

Stefan Johansson watches over one of his drivers, Dixon, at St. Pete last year.

Stefan Johansson watches over one of his drivers, Dixon, at St. Pete last year.

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

shares
comments
F1 Grand Prix practice results: Hamilton fastest in Saudi Arabia
Previous article

F1 Grand Prix practice results: Hamilton fastest in Saudi Arabia

Next article

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

The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes
Load comments
Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems Prime

Why F1's new era 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

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Prime

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 Prime

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 stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Prime

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Prime

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season Prime

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as Stuart Codling finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1 Prime

How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. Nigel Roebuck recalls a remarkable champion.

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022
How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam Prime

How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam

George Russell joining Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes this year gives it arguably the best line-up in Formula 1 – if it can avoid too many fireworks. After serving his apprenticeship at Williams, Russell is the man that Mercedes team believes can lead it in the post-Hamilton era, but how will he fare against the seven-time champion? Motorsport.com heard from the man himself

Formula 1
Jan 6, 2022