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Vasseur: American driver more important for F1 than American team

Formula 1 has been increasingly tapping into the American market in recent years but amid Michael Andretti's push to join the grid, Ferrari's Frederic Vasseur thinks a driver from the USA is more valuable for the sport.

Vasseur Ferrari Spain
To news overview © XPBimages

Ferrari Team Principal Frederic Vasseur has stated that American drivers are more important for Formula 1 than an American team.

Michael Andretti, who is attempting to join the grid with his own team, passed the FIA's initial analysis before entering discussions with the sport's commercial rights holders.

F1 and its teams have been hesitant to open their arms to an 11th team amid fears over how it could dilute the end-of-year payouts.

The sport has operated with 10 squads since the 2017 campaign, with Haas being the grid's newest addition.

Haas is currently the only squad that runs under a US flag, while this year Logan Sargeant became the first US national to race in F1 since Alexander Rossi in 2015.

F1 has been developing its growth in the US market in recent years and staged three races in the country in 2023, visiting Miami, Austin and Las Vegas.

However, doubts over Andretti's entry remain despite it forming a partnership with General Motors, one of the biggest automotive brands in the world.

When asked by select media including RacingNews365 if there's enough room in F1 for an 11th team, Vasseur said: “On paper you always have room except that you are not able to go to Monaco or to Zandvoort, that’s another story.

“But for sure there is room for an 11th team if the team is bringing something to F1.”

Vasseur pointed out that a driver has more influence on a country's interest in F1 than a team does.

“We spoke about the coverage from the country of the team but for me, it’s not the right approach.

“The approach is that F1 is a success in the country where the drivers are successful.

“If you have a look today, one of the biggest successes for F1 is for the Netherlands because they have Verstappen.

“It's more a matter of drivers than the team and the nationality of the team. You have Haas, an American team.

“If you are speaking about Andretti, they will join with exactly the same system as Haas.

“If we want to be very successful in the USA, I think it's more a matter to bring successful American drivers than an American team”

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