Scott Speed says 'We Have To' Get Another American Driver in Formula 1

·2 min read
Photo credit: Clive Mason - Getty Images
Photo credit: Clive Mason - Getty Images

Scott Speed, who spent the better part of two seasons in Formula 1 as America’s first F1 driver since Michael Andretti in 1993, thinks it’s inevitable that the series will get another American driver, sooner rather than later.

“We have to. One hundred percent. It just has to be the right timing, the right environment, but there’s no question that the talent is here,” Speed said during his competition in the season finale of the Nitro Rallycross championship in Florida on Sunday. “And the fact that the racing is once again coming here is just going to foster that. There’s just no absolutely no arguing that we don't have the talent.”

Photo credit: Jared Tilton/SRX - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jared Tilton/SRX - Getty Images

Formula 1, following a layoff after dropping the Indianapolis Motor Speedway from the schedule, has American ownership and two U.S. F1 races on the schedule—Circuit of the Americas in Texas, and the Miami Grand Prix, starting in 2022. And rumors remain strong that Las Vegas could enter the series as soon as 2023.

Could the U.S. support three races? “No idea,” said Speed, who made 28 starts in Formula 1. “But it’s a different world than when I was racing in Formula 1 in 2006 and 2007, with the Netflix documentary,” Drive to Survive, “and the popularity of the sport here in America. That changes things. COTA had a lot of people in the crowd this year."

Speed, 38, gives a lot of credit to Drive to Survive for the current wave of F1 popularity. “It’s cool that it’s finally becoming popular, and that more people know about it. It’s cool that my wife,” daughter of veteran NHRA Pro Stock and Pro Mod racer Rickie Smith, “is starting to see what it’s like. She said, ‘Hey man, what you did over there is really neat.’

“That’s fun, and I still have friends over there I enjoy watching. It’s the pinnacle of what we do in motor racing, and it’s cool that somebody who loves the sport can be able to watch it at the highest level.”

Speed tied for the Nitro championship with Subaru teammate Travis Pastrana, but given the fact that Pastrana won two races this year to Speed’s one, Pastrana took home the trophy.

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