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First American F1 driver since 2015 by Piastri-soap?

First American F1 driver since 2015 by Piastri-soap?

11 August - 11:18
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GPblog.com

With the whole Oscar Piastri saga, an interesting situation has also arisen at Williams. While Piastri was the favourite candidate to sit next to Alexander Albon, it now looks like there will be an American on the F1 grid in 2023 for the first time since Alexander Rossi.

The move of Alonso

Fernando Alonso shocked friend and foe with his move to Aston Martin. The British team had hoped to keep Sebastian Vettel, but when the German decided to quit the team moved quickly. Alonso was approached and the Spaniard was seduced by the multi-year contract. That was not possible at Alpine.

At Alpine they were surprised that Alonso left, because the team had assumed that the Spaniard would stay. A deal was already in place, which also meant a deal for Alpine-junior Oscar Piastri at Williams. Piastri already felt the mood coming (that Alonso would stay) and was in turn seduced by McLaren. The Australian is supposed to become the successor of Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren.

With the departure of Alonso, a place became available at Alpine and the French racing team thought they could fill it with Piastri. However, that was outside the deal with McLaren. The question now is which team has the binding contract, because there is no clarity on that yet. One thing is certain: Williams will have to find another driver.

Chance for De Vries?

Earlier in the year Nyck de Vries was linked to Williams, but since his test in Barcelona for the team things went in the direction of Piastri. Now that Piastri is making another move, that could open the way for De Vries, but things are not going his way (again). There is a new candidate in the team.

Logan Sargeant has been part of the Williams Driver Academy since the end of last year and may drive his first free practice in F1 at the 2022 US Grand Prix. The 21-year-old American made his mark in Formula 3 in 2020 when he lost the championship to Oscar Piastri in the final race. Sargeant went into that final race leading, but eventually finished third.

American in F1

In 2021, Sargeant dropped out of the race, as he no longer had a top car in F3 with Charouz. With the support of Williams, he had a good seat at Carlin in Formula 2 in 2022, and it paid off. He has already won two main races and is third in the championship. The gap to the leader is big (180 to 119), but even from P3 a move to F1 is possible.

Williams will also be encouraged by the leadership of Formula 1 to choose Sargeant. The sport has been working hard for years to grow in America and a driver from that country would of course be a huge boost. With Alexander Albon, Williams has already managed to retain the leader of the team, so a young talent alongside him would be a great combination.

Sargeant would become the first American in F1 in 2023 since Alexander Rossi's five Grands Prix for Marussia in 2015. For a full season in F1, we have to go back even further in time. Scott Speed drove a full season in F1 for Toro Rosso in 2006, before being sidelined for Sebastian Vettel in mid-2007. The last American victory dates back to 1978. Mario Andretti won the Dutch Grand Prix on behalf of Lotus.

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