What has North America given to Formula 1 ?

There are no North American drivers on Formula 1 grid this year and it is hard to see anyone joining anytime soon. The United States GP has been omitted from calendar this year and at the moment does not feature on 2009 calendar either. Except for few sponsors the Canadian GP remains the only connection between North America and Formula 1. Here is a brief overview US and Canadian contribution to Formula 1:

1) First of all America created some chaos in F1 statistics :-) . In the early days, between 1950 – 1960, the Indy 500 race was part of the world championship. European drivers usually did not take part in that race. Also the drivers and teams that raced at Indy did not take part in the European F1 races. The race was therefore pretty much irrelevant to the F1 World Championship. The Indy 500 winners from those years however feature in Formula 1 history charts.

2) Including the Indy 500 drivers mentioned above Canada and USA have supplied Formula 1 with 163 drivers. Three of them – Phil Hill, Mario Andretti (both USA) and Jacques Villeneuve won the F1 drivers titles.

3) The North American drivers claimed 50 race wins (11 of them are the Indy 500 wins), 54 pole positions (11 are Indy 500 poles), 53 fastest laps (again 11 of them are from the Indy 500 races) and 165 drivers made it to podium (here 36 came from Indy 500 as drivers could change in the cars those days). In total US drivers collected so far total of 998 points, Canadians 342 points.

4) Sixty three different F1 constructors and 19 engine makes came from North America (most of them of course also for the Indy 500 races).

5) Two former Formula 1 tyre suppliers came from USA – Firestone and Goodyear.

6) North America has organized 91 F1 races – 40 in Canada (Mont-Tremblant, Mosport and Montreal) and 51 in USA (Las Vegas, Indianapolis, Phoenix, Detroit, Dallas, Watkins Glen, Riverside, Long Beach and Sebring). If we add to this the 11 Indy 500 races between 1950 – 1960 we will get the total of 102 races.

So far the last Formula 1 race driver from United States is Scott Speed (Toro Rosso), from Canada Jacques Villeneuve (Williams, BAR, Renault, Sauber, BMW Sauber). The last US GP was held in Indianapolis in 2007.

Sources: Forix, F1Sports

8 Comments Post a Comment
  1. cdNo Gravatar says:

    you forgot to mention all that whining, complaining and entitlement we brought to the sport :) But really, great research. I always get a kick out of those Indy Five-hunnert driver who appear in the points in the 50s.

    Can’t speak for Canada, but sadly, I don’t see a USGP until someone with deep pockets steps up to sponsor the race. Finding sponsorship is not one of Tony George’s strengths.

    And until we find an American driver willing to live in Europe and work their way through the ranks and keep their mouth shut, well, I guess we’ll be waiting a while for that, too.

    cds last blog post..The "Great American Hope" report

    • F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

      “you forgot to mention all that whining, complaining and entitlement we brought to the sport :-)

      this is a positive article :-)

      • cdNo Gravatar says:

        I meant it in a jovial way :)

        I think it’s a shame that today’s American drivers would rather win in Iowa than take a crack at F1. I like Bourdais’ recent comment about it better to finish 12th in a difficult car than to win in a car that is expected to win. I wish Graham Rahal or Marco Andretti felt that way. Especially Andretti — if that name was in F1 the US mainstream would have to pay attention.

  2. StewNo Gravatar says:

    You’re right about the Andretti name carrying a lot of weight, but if you listen to the young Andrettis talk, there is a lot of bad blood stemming from Michael’s year in F1. The words ‘scandal’ and ‘setup’ still carry a tune.

    In the US as we know, NASCAR rules. It is hugely popular and is the foundation of racing in the US. For any young kid from the US dreaming of a racing career, the expected path would be NASCAR and not F1.

    In Canada we have a culture that fits F1 better (especially in Quebec), but sadly F1 drivers are still hard to come by. Our last big producer of young drivers was the Players Recing Development program that sadly was torn down to only a spec of what it was by the ban of Cigarette advertising. Jaques Villeneuve came from there and so did the late Greg Moore who was destined for F1 before his crash in Michigan.

  3. SE-RAustinNo Gravatar says:

    I would love to have more F1 races here in the U.S.A. (or even ONE at this point!), but the expense is enormous and the practicallity of holding races here is nil. Since F1 is European based, it’s impractical or problematic at best for a driver here to work his way to F1. Look at the recent (lack of) volume of US drivers funnelling into the sport. Scott Speed is the only one who’s actually gotten in, and that was thanks to the efforts of a Swiss company’s program!

    While I don’t follow NASCAR (the only race I’ve watched start to finish in years was the race in Mexico on a road track), I understand it’s popularity and we have our own open-wheel championship based here. There’s already market saturation for the general public for auto sport in this country. I always get excited when there is a U.S. contribution to F1, but I sadly don’t expect one anytime soon. We need another Mario!

  4. Cletus van HortonNo Gravatar says:

    The lack of support and knowledge of F1 in the US merely substantiates how much worse we are than the rest of the world in respect to the entire automotive industry. Our cars are more extensions of our Living rooms than something to drive-we care more about how many DVD screens are inside than the overall function. Our racing circuits are either an extension of the self-proclaimed aristocracy which has fueled a split in open wheeled racing that you mentioned between the US and the world OR a backyard hillbilly 200mph merry-go-round that has its roots in illegal bootlegging. Corvette finally got better…WHY? It copied Europe’s styling and is finally winning the Le Mans series; albeit over a V12 Ferrari.
    America, at least, needs to first admit the World is better inside and outside a car before we can ever have Formula One accepted here in the United States of Arrogance.

  5. zblkhwkNo Gravatar says:

    American’s simply do not want to watch the parade that F1 races have become. They are not familiar with the details of the sport to understand the qualifying, fuel load, pit stop strategies that enter into the sport.

    The typical Nascar or Indy race has more than 20 lead changes (passes for first position). In F1, you might see five due to pit stops. Americans prefer the competition of passing more than cars turning both left and right.

    F1 left Indy, in part, because Tony George refused to take money from the city of Indianapolis to help defray the cost to Bernie. While I understand his desire to run the race on his own, he forgot the benefits that a race of this caliber brings the local community, and the community paying for part of it is good for both parties. It did not help that Tony and Bernie’s egos are too big to get along.

  6. Mosport83No Gravatar says:

    It also didn’t help the USGP cause when the worst debacle in F1 history occured at Indianapolis in 2005 (six starters) followed by the tire problems in 2007. Given the long history and high profile of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, starting with the Indy 500 and now with NASCAR’s Brickyard 400, you would think that Bernie et al would want to showcase F1 in America at the same venue as the other two major North American series. F1 is conspicuous by its absence from arguably the most famous racetrack in the world.


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