Red, white, and blue representation at last!
F1 has a massive fanbase in the USA, even though we have nobody to support; that's about to change after American driver Logan Sargeant racked up enough Super License points this past weekend to earn promotion to Formula 1 with Williams Racing. He finished sixth in the final sprint race, fifth in the final feature race, and placed 4th in the 2022 season standings after the final round of the F2 season in Abu Dhabi, giving him the required points to earn his super license.
Williams promised Sargeant the second seat if he could amass the points needed for a super license, which all F1 drivers must have to compete. Sargeant finished fourth in the 2022 F2 season and has officially been blessed with an FIA Super License. Sargeant becomes the first American driver on the F1 grid in eight years.
Earlier this year, the FIA rejected Colton Herta's appeal to race for AlphaTauri despite not having a super license. That means Sargeant is the first official American on the grid since 2015. Since Williams is powered by Mercedes engines, Sargeant might be in line for a new company car like a GLE Coupe.
The last American driver to feature in F1 was Alexander Rossi, who had six F1 starts for Manor Marussia in 2015 without scoring any points but was involved from 2012 to 2016 in various roles, including reserve and test driver.
Sargeant is well versed with the Williams F1 car by now, having driven practice sessions for the team at the US and Mexican Grands Prix and then again in Abu Dhabi this past weekend.
Sargeant's goal will undoubtedly be a first-place finish, though he'll likely have to wait a few years; Williams finished in last place in 2022, which means it will receive the smallest payout from the FIA. Without millions of development money to throw around, the team will likely remain in the bottom half of the grid in 2023. However, he's already in with a strong shot at performing better than the driver he replaces, Nicholas Latifi.
To enter the hall of American F1 greats, Sargeant must break a 34-year drought on American race and title winners. Mario Andretti was the last American to win the F1 driver's championship in 1978, scoring six wins during the entire season. His final victory just so happened to be in the penultimate race, which took place at Watkins Glen that year.
Andretti's son is trying to start an all-new American F1 team but is facing an uphill battle with the FIA and existing teams.
The only other American to ever win an F1 World Championship was Phil Hill in 1961.
Though Williams is a shadow of its former self, it is at least moving in the right direction. In 2021, it scored zero points, and this year it collected eight. Progress is slow, but at least the team is moving forward under the watchful eye of Jost Capito. With the talent of Sargeant behind the wheel and the tutorship of the team's senior driver, Alex Albon, it will hope to see further progress in 2023.
One also can't discount all of the home races Sargeant will compete in. Next year the USA will host Grand Prix in Austin, Miami, and Las Vegas.