Red Bull team boss Christian Horner says Williams' plan to run young American hopeful Logan Sargeant in F1 in 2023 would be great news for the sport as it expands its footprint in the U.S.
Williams boss Jost Capito announced last week in Austin that Sargeant would race alongside Alex Albon in F1 next season, providing the 21-year-old is eligible for a superlicence after next month's FIA Formula 2 finale in Abu Dhabi.
The mandatory pass to race in F1 is Sergeant's to lose, but the young American's prospects are very strong.
Williams hasn't waited for the outcome of next month's F2 event to unveil its plans, and Horner fully supports the British outfit's choice given the tailwind currently behind Grand Prix racing's growth in America where F1 will perform at three venues next year.
"I think it’s great news," Horner said. "Congrats to Jost and the Williams team on hopefully achieving that – obviously still subject to the Super Licence – which I think is another topic that we perhaps need to have a look at.
"But I think we see the growth in the US, we see the excitement that there is. I came from Vegas earlier in the week and seeing the plans there for that race as well, which looks to be an epic event, you can see the American public are really engaged in Formula 1, and I think we need an American driver.
“"Not only just a driver, we need a successful driver in there competing as well. It shouldn’t just be Brad Pitt.
"So I think that, it’s exciting for Formula 1, it’s exciting times and the sport’s growing and developing. And I think we’ll see more American talent developing and emerging.
"Certainly we’ve got some interesting candidates on our Junior Programme that we’re investing in."
Sargeant ti race for Williams in 2023 subject to superlicence!
Sargeant: Williams F1 debut 'a lot different than what I expected'
The success in America of Netflix's F1 streaming series 'Drive to Survive' and the addition of two more races – Miami this year and Las Vegas in 2023 – that will soon sit alongside Austin on the sport's calendar, is spurring growth at a remarkable pace.
If Sargeant - who will appear in FP1 this week in Mexico City - is on the grid in Bahrain next March, he would become the first American since Alexander Rossi to race in F1.
But over at Williams, Capito insists his protégé's American nationality isn't what earned Sargeant his Formula 1 break.
"It is a good for F1 to have an American driver," said Capito. "But we didn't pick Logan in the Academy because he's American, we picked him because of his success and his past in racing.
"And if we take the kids or we put into the Academy, it's the objective to get them in the F1 car.
"If you have a young driver who is ready for F1, and you have the seat, then you have to put these young drivers into the seat, otherwise, you've done something wrong.
"And that's why we came to that conclusion that is the right thing. And that Logan is American, I think it's nice to have, but it's not the initiation of the decision."
The timing of Williams' announcement last week at the Circuit of the Americas wasn't lost on the paddock, just as Capito isn't oblivious to the marketing benefits of running an American in F1.
"Yeah, we're not stupid, are we? We had to put this out at the right time," said the German.
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