Andretti joins attack on 'wrong and arrogant' Steiner

Mario Andretti
© XPB 

Former Formula 1 world champion Mario Andretti has blasted comments from Haas F1 Team boss Guenther Steiner about the lack of American drivers.

Steiner sparked a storm this week by suggesting: "There is nobody ready for Formula 1 in the United States in my opinion."

Steiner was explaining why he hadn't recruited an American driver to drive for Haas, which is the first US team to take part in Formula 1 for more than 30 years

The comments certainly didn't go down well with Andretti. He succinctly labelled Steiner's comments "Wrong and arrogant!!" on Twitter.

Among the people retweeting Andretti's comment was fellow former F1 champion Damon Hill.

Although born in Italy, Andretti raced in F1 as an American between 1968 and 1982. His teams included Lotus, March, Ferrari and Williams.

The most recent American driver to compete in Formula 1 was Alexander Rossi, who entered five races with Marussia F1 in 2015. However Rossi left F1 at the end of the season to compete in IndyCar. He went on to win the Indy 500 in 2016.

Rossi himself carefully avoided tweeting about Steiner's comments. However his good friend, fellow IndyCar driver and former GP2 and GP3 racer Conor Daly, had no such reservations.

"How can you possibly call yourselves an 'American' team and totally berate your entire 'home' nationality of drivers?" raged Daly, son of former F1 driver Derek Daly.

And Graham Rahal - son of Indy 500 winner and former Jaguar F1 team boss Bobby Rahal - was equally outraged, calling Steiner's comments "complete BS."

"Always funny the Haas F1 Team mentality," he added on Twitter. "'Americans aren’t good enough', yet they haven’t even given us a shot."

Steiner previously angered the US open wheel community by disparaging 2017 IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden.

Newgarden hinted last year that he would love a shot at Formula 1, but Steiner had been unimpressed with the suggestion.

"I'm not saying that Josef would not be successful, but you cannot just jump in," Steiner said at the time.

"When you come from another series to jump into Formula 1, it is difficult," Steiner said. "It's a lot more pressure ... The pressure here is tremendous.

"After three races if you don't deliver, you know what you are - an idiot, and you need to leave.

"To put an American and make him fail, it's not good for him,' Steiner had insisted. "It is not good for Formula 1 in America, and it is not good for us."

Steiner said that Haas hoped to stick with its current European line-up of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen into 2019.

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