Reigning double NTT IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden believes drivers from the United States are looked down upon in the world of Formula 1.
The 29-year old raced in Europe during the early years of his career, finishing runner-up in the 2009 British Formula Ford championship, before moving to GP3 – now FIA Formula 3 – in 2010. He ended that season in a disappointing 18th, while current IndyCar rival Alexander Rossi finished in fourth.
After moving back to the US, he claimed the Indy Lights title in 2011 before moving up to IndyCar the following season.
Newgarden started driving for Team Penske in 2017 and has since won two titles, with Rossi, who made the move to IndyCar a year before Newgarden, now a chief rival in the US-based series.
US success in F1 has been limited in the championship’s 70-year history with only Phil Hill and Mario Andretti claiming the world title.
However, other drivers who have moved across from the US to attempt F1 have found it difficult to get a foothold in the championship.
“When I was 17, I got to go to Europe,” Newgarden told the New York Times.
“I wanted to stay over there and try for Formula One. I did really well, but then ran out of money after my second year.
“I’d like to do it. But nowadays, it’s kind of hard for any American. There’s a Formula One bubble in Europe. I’ll be honest, they look down on Americans a bit over there. It’s really silly.”
Newgarden is certain the talent from the US is strong enough to challenge for an F1 title, but unlike the single-spec IndyCar series, the disparity of competition of F1 has also made the World Championship potentially unappealing.
“There’s American talent that if they got the right seat at the right time, they could win championships, no problem.
“Formula One is very glitzy and glamorous, but if you’re not in a Ferrari or a Mercedes you might as well not show up. There’s zero chance you’re going to win the race.