Logan Sarceant will become the first American driver since 2015 to drive for Williams in F1 next season.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner was asked about the American driver who made it to the grid.
He said, if you don't want to win, the impact will not be enough.
Next year will see the first American Formula 1 driver in years, but according to one of the biggest names in the sport, the cultural impact on the US may be less than many predicted.
Williams Racing recently announced that 21-year-old American Logan Sargent will replace Nicolas Latif on its roster for the 2023 season. Sargent will become the first American driver in F1 and the first full-time driver to be an American driver, after Current IndyCar driver Alexander Rossi had five starts in 2015. A Scott Speed driver who raced for Toro Rosso in 2006 and 2007.
Prior to Williams' announcement, Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner asked a question about the growth of the sport in the United States during a special appearance on Bloomberg's Power Players show. He spoke of the potential impact of the American pilot with a series of benchmarks that the sergeant would have a hard time meeting.
“I think it keeps them busy,” Horner said, hinting at ways to keep Americans interested beyond the popular Netflix series Drive to Survive. "I think ultimately we also need a national hero. We need an American driver to lead the championship, not just for fun. To win the world and the nation."
Prior to Sargent's promotion to F2, there was considerable debate among American fans about the importance of having an American driver and whether the team could sign him for it.
Sargent is a talented driver – he finished fourth in F2 this season and won two races – so he's not in F1 just because he's American. However, he shouldn't be fighting for championships and winning races any time soon. Instead, he could spend a lot of time on or behind the field for a last-place Williams team in 2022.
According to Horner, a significant effect on American sports fans is already taking place: increased interest in corporate America.
"It's unbelievable," Horner said. "Now we have several partners based in the US. We have a lead partner in Oracle that joined us this year. We have companies like AT&T. For example, we announced US entities like Exxon Mobil. The arrival of the American and Playing.
And it's not just Red Bull. There is an influx of companies based in the US or with strong ties to the US working with other teams and with F1 as a whole.
A case in point is the new F1 deal with Lenovo, a China-based technology company with a strong presence in the US. In its first year as an F1 partner, Lenovo is already a major sponsor of two races, in addition to supplying technology to F1.
A big part of this new attraction is the growing awareness, especially in the US, that F1 is the pinnacle of innovation.
“What better premium sport to truly align a brand than Formula 1?” Gerald Youngblood, Lenovo's director of marketing for North America, recently told Insider. "There are also very practical benefits in terms of our brand alignment and visibility with other brands that share this passion for innovation and have audiences that can appreciate the story Lenovo tells."
This perception of F1 is not new to its ardent fans, but it is to the corporate world. Five years ago, F1 only had one technology partner. In addition to Lenovo, F1 is now partnering with several technology companies, including US companies like AWS and Zoom.
You can watch Horner's full interview here:
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