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.

Listen to this article

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
Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022? Prime

Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022?

Who was the fastest driver in 2022? Everyone has an opinion, but what does the stopwatch say? Obviously, differing car performance has an effect on ultimate laptime – but it’s the relative speed of each car/driver package that’s fascinating and enlightening says ALEX KALINAUCKAS

Nico Hulkenberg: Why F1's nearly man is refreshed and ready for his return Prime

Nico Hulkenberg: Why F1's nearly man is refreshed and ready for his return

He has more starts without a podium than anyone else in Formula 1 world championship history, but Nico Hulkenberg is back for one more shot with Haas. After spending three years on the sidelines, the revitalised German is aiming to prove to his new team what the F1 grid has been missing.

Formula 1
Jan 29, 2023
Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss Prime

Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss

OPINION: Fred Vasseur has spent only a few weeks as team principal for the Ferrari Formula 1 team, but is already intent on taking the Scuderia back to the very top. And despite it being arguably the most demanding job in motorsport, the Frenchman is relishing the challenge

Formula 1
Jan 27, 2023
The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023 Prime

The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023

Changes to the regulations for season two of Formula 1's ground-effects era aim to smooth out last year’s troubles and shut down loopholes. But what areas have been targeted, and what impact will this have?

Formula 1
Jan 26, 2023
Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history? Prime

Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history?

Who are the quickest drivers in Formula 1 history? Luke Smith asked a jury of experienced and international panel of experts and F1 insiders. Some of them have worked closely with F1’s fastest-ever drivers – so who better to vote on our all-time top 50? We’re talking all-out speed here rather than size of trophy cabinet, so the results may surprise you…

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2023
One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1 Prime

One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1

OPINION: During what is traditionally a very quiet time of year in the Formula 1 news cycle, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has been generating headlines. He’s been commenting on massive topics in a championship that loves them, but also addressing necessary smaller changes too. Here we suggest a further refinement that would be a big boon to fans

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
How can McLaren keep hold of Norris? Prime

How can McLaren keep hold of Norris?

Lando Norris is no longer the young cheeky-chappy at McLaren; he’s now the established ace. And F1's big guns will come calling if the team can’t give him a competitive car. Here's what the team needs to do to retain its prize asset

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make? Prime

What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make?

While a quick pitstop can make all the difference to the outcome of a Formula 1 race, most team managers say consistency is more important than pure speed. MATT KEW analyses the fastest pitstops from last season to see which ones – if any – made a genuine impact

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2023