Logan Sergeant has opened up on his "really difficult" move to Europe at a young age to pursue his dream of reaching Formula 1.
F1 is a traditionally Euro-centric sport, with all but one of the sport's 10 current teams being headquartered in Europe, and many of F1's European circuits also feature on the calendars of the sport's feeder series like F2 and F3.
Drivers from outside Europe who harbour aspirations of one day reaching Formula 1 typically relocate to the continent at an early age, in order to compete in junior championships that allow them to progress and put themselves on the radar of key figures in F1.
For his part, Sargeant left his native Florida at the age of 12 in order to get a foot on the European karting ladder – the same age fellow F1 driver Zhou Guanyu was when he left China to move to England for the same reason.
Splitting his teens between England and Switzerland as he competed in various series all over Europe, Sargeant exclusively told RacingNews365.com of the challenges in moving across the world at such a young age.
"It's a lot more difficult than it may seem, and I think it's the same for anyone from America, Zhou from China, Australia, New Zealand, it's really difficult," said Sargeant.
"You have to make that decision early. You move away from home, you leave your friends and family. It can be quite lonely at times, and it's mentally challenging.
"At the same time, it kind of makes you stronger, but in the moment, it's extremely challenging, and I think it's probably why you see [fewer non-Europeans] in F1."
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More young Americans in Europe
The financial burden and personal upheaval inherent in moving continents point to why young American racers typically eschew Europe, electing instead to remain in the United States and compete in established series such as IndyCar, Nascar and IMSA.
Sargeant is the U.S.'s first F1 race driver since Alexander Rossi in 2015, with Scott Speed being the only other American to have raced in F1 across the last 30 years.
However, with Formula 1 seeing a huge boom in popularity in the U.S. lately, and the country set to host three Grands Prix in 2023, Sargeant says increasing numbers of young American racers are electing to take the plunge and move to Europe.
"Generally, you're starting to see more drivers from America coming over [to race in Europe], which is amazing," Sargeant explained.
"I looked through the karting list recently, and there's quite a few, and that was nice to see.
"I think F1 is clearly much more well known in America now, so that's a positive, and I just feel like it's generally moving in the right direction."
Balve Bains is joined by RacingNews365.com Editorial Director Dieter Rencken and Asia Correspondent Michael Butterworth to dissect the key talking points from the last week in F1.