F1 wants 'real and fast' American driver on the grid

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F1 boss Stefano Domenicali says the time has come for the sport to have an American driver on the grid but admits that finding the right candidate isn't an easy task.

As global as Formula 1 has grown over the decades, the United States have never had an adequate representation.

Only two American drivers – Phil Hill and Mario Andretti – have won the F1 World Championship, while Peter Revson is the last American-born driver to have won a Grand Prix, in 1973.

Eddie Cheever remains the American driver with the most race starts in F1 – 132, while the last driver from the U.S. to race in F1 is Alexander Rossi who started five races with Marussia in 2015.

Last year, Michael Andretti's failed attempt to acquire Sauber which runs the Alfa Romeo F1 team included a plan to field IndyCar charger Colton Herta in F1.

But the young 22-year-old American driver is still in F1's line of sight, with McLaren set to test Herta later this year as part of its Testing of Previous Cars programme.

For Domenicali, a talented American driver on the grid would be a fitting addition given the sport's increased presence in the country, and would yield important commercial benefits.

"It is important because of course people make the difference. They are the protagonists with whom everyone feels connected and their faces are always a reference," Domenicali told Motorsport.com's Dutch affiliate.

"But it has to be real. They have to be fast, otherwise it comes back like a boomerang. That’s why we are also working with the American Federation to invest in that.

"It is definitely something that is not easy to achieve. It will take time, but we are putting focus on it. It would definitely have a big effect.

"That’s why we work together and we respect the roles, but for an organiser or promoter who wants to develop their business in the United States, an American man or woman can be very important from a commercial point of view."

Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei also believes it's only a matter of time before an American driver joins the elite as the sport ramps up its presence in the U.S.

"I want to say we have an American team, we have Haas," said Maffei.

"With an event like Las Vegas and all the other things we are doing in the US, it is becoming more and more likely we will have an American driver soon."

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