The Haas Formula 1 team should be on the look-out for a new up-and-coming American driver to help develop for the future. Here, Formula Scout picks 10 drivers who would deserve that support
Ever since Haas established an American outfit back on the Formula 1 grid, there has been a lot of interest in whether the team would employ or develop a home-grown F1 driver.
From the outset, it dismissed the prospect of signing Alexander Rossi, the most successful American driver to have come up the ranks in Europe in recent times and someone who since quickly become a leading star in IndyCar. It did sign Santino Ferrucci to a development driver role and provide him with track time, that it has kept him on board despite the incidents that got him banned from Formula 2 and sacked by Trident – ending any realistic chances of him ever making F1 – have raised questions about its real motives for having him on board.
Trying to make it in Europe as an American driver isn’t easy – partly for financial reasons – and those trying to make it work need to have the right support. Still,?as the first driver on our list says: “There?s definitely demand for an American driver in F1, so there?s really no better time to be in Europe.” It’s clear there are drivers who better deserve that Haas backing, and we have picked out 10 potential candidates from the junior ranks.
Cameron Das?18y/o?5th in Euroformula Open
2017: 5th in BRDC British F3.?2016: US F4 champion.?2015: 8th in Formula Lites
Das has lost a bit of career momentum since becoming the inaugural US F4 champion and moving to Europe, but has continued to demonstrate his obvious talent in two years in Formula 3. He took pole on his BRDC British F3 debut, beating Carlin team-mates Enaam Ahmed and James Pull, and won once on the way to fifth in the standings.
He hasn’t won since, reinforcing the reputation that Das is a brilliant qualifier, but his racecraft isn’t up to the same standard. It also looks like he hasn’t fully got his head around the Dallara F312 car, and Formula 1 support may just be what Das needs to recapture his potential.
Kyle Kirkwood?20y/o?F3 Americas and USF2000 champion
2017: US F4 champion.?2016: 3rd in US F4.?2015: 16th in F1600 Championship
Despite having never raced above USF2000 on the Road to Indy, Kirkwood is already a F3 and F4 champion and definitely has the talent to win the Pro Mazda title next year and move straight into Indy Lights. Were Haas to take control of Kirkwood’s career though we could see what he could do in Europe.
Turning his record-equalling USF2000 pace into something similar in Europe would be difficult, as Harrison Scott proved going the other way around, but if placed with an established team, there’s nothing to say Kirkwood wouldn’t be a frontrunner in the likes of International F3 from 2020 onwards.
Kaylen Frederick?16y/o?6th in USF2000
2017: 4th in USF2000.?2016: 7th in F1600 Championship
Two winless seasons in USF2000 suggests Frederick doesn’t deserve to be on this list, but he finished second to championship dominator Kyle Kirkwood three times this year and is still only 16 years old.
He was the third best driver behind Kirkwood and the experienced Alex Baron in the first half of 2018, but struggled in the races thereon. Two poles showed he had the pace, but coupled with just two top 10 finishes meant he sank to sixth in the standings, two places lower than his rookie season.
Frederick made an impact on his European debut in Euroformula Open, despite ending his first race two laps down. It was his first visit to Monza, and first time racing a F3 car, and in race two he finished fifth, better than several series regulars had managed all season.
For 2019 he intends to compete in Pro Mazda or EF Open with RP Motorsport, but may be swayed to British F3 after recent tests.
Oliver Askew?21y/o?3rd in Pro Mazda
2017: USF2000 champion.?2016: MRTI Shootout winner.?2015: 10th in FMasters China.
An avid learner on and off track, Askew looks likely to be one of IndyCar’s future homegrown stars. He won two Road to Indy scholarships in a row, and led Cape Motorsports admirably in Pro Mazda this year. Whether he stays there or graduates straight to Indy Lights is yet to be known, and it would make sense if Haas let the Florida native complete his rapid rise to IndyCar before bringing him into an F1 drive.
Ryan Tveter?24y/o?currently 9th in GP3
2017: 8th in GP3.?2016: 17th in European F3.
Ferrucci’s departure left Tveter as the closest American driver to F1 on the European ladder, and on the same weekend as his fellow Trident driver imploded at Silverstone, the Zurich-based New Yorker was enjoying his best event to-date with a fourth and a third. He went on to finish second in the main Spa race, bringing his GP3 podium tally to five.
Tveter was a late starter who never did karting and instead contested his first ever race on the support bill of the Canadian Grand Prix in 2011 in an FF1600 car. The steps that followed into Formula Renault and European F3 were tough, but since switching to GP3 he has proven that he certainly has ability.
He is well-connected – his father is an executive at Liberty Global – but has absolutely none of the negative attitude that can come with that. That, combined with the progress he’s been making, deserves the respect of Haas.
David Malukas 17y/o?4th in Pro Mazda
2017: 10th in USF2000.?2016-17: 5th in F4 UAE.
Malukas has had big question marks hanging over him in each of the last two years as to whether he’s been ready for USF2000 and Pro Mazda, but on both occasions he has more than proven himself and put in some of the best drives in Pro Mazda this year.
BN Racing is stepping up to Indy Lights next year, and having run Malukas for the last two years, it would make sense if the 17-year-old continued his partnership with the team. He had already tested Indy Lights machinery with championship-winning team Belardi Auto Racing, but a move back to Europe – where he started out in single-seaters in ADAC F4 at the start of 2017 – would likely be just as rewarding were Haas to sign him up.
Logan Sargeant?17y/o?4th in Formula Renault?Eurocup
2017: 3rd in British F4.?2016-17: 2nd in F4 UAE
Sargeant is the driver that looks most likely to be the next American on the F1 grid. It’s a possibility that has looked clear for some time since his glittering karting career, which included winning the junior world title in 2015 – the first American to be an FIA world karting champion since Lake Speed in 1978.
He initially struggled to live up to expectations when he stepped up to British F4 with Carlin last year, but improved as the year went on. Stepping up to the Formula Renault Eurocup this year, he won the first race, and although a title challenge didn’t follow, he finished fourth in the standings and took his third win of the season in Sunday’s Barcelona finale. Well-funded, he may have his pick of F1 junior schemes, but maybe Haas could utilise its partnership with Ferrari to snap him up.
Dakota Dickerson?21y/o?United States F4 champion
2017: 3rd in US F4.?2016: 9th in USF2000.?2015: Skip Barber Shootout winner, 5th in FFord Festival
US F4 is the first truly Europe-oriented single-seater series in the States since Formula BMW, so this list would be incomplete without its 2018 champion. Dickerson wrapped up the title before this weekend’s season-ending US Grand Prix support event thanks to a double win in New Jersey.
Before that, he had won just once in 12 races, so his campaign was built more on consistent strong finishes than the outright dominance of his Cape Motorsports predecessor Kirkwood.?Still, Dickerson has long been seen as a promising talent, winning both the Team USA Scholarship and a Skip Barber Shootout for a Mazda-funded ride in USF2000.
Juan Manuel Correa?19y/o?4th in Toyota Racing Series, currently 13th in GP3
2017: 10th in ADAC F4.?2016: 6th in Italian F4.
Ecuador-born Correa has already had ties to F1, when he was a Lotus junior alongside the likes of Alex Albon and Dorian Boccolacci while he was still in karts, where he was Rotax Junior world champion. A step up to F4 with Prema followed in 2016, when he was a three-time winner in Italy and looked evenly-matched with team-mate Juri Vips.
Last season didn’t start anywhere near as well, and he made the considerable leap up to GP3 mid-season with Jenzer. After starting 2018 with an encouraging Toyota Racing Series campaign, where he won twice, he has enjoyed some strong point-scoring weekends in GP3 as Jenzer’s strongest scorer – he outscored David Beckmann before the German’s successful switch to Trident.
Carter Williams?20y/o?9th in BRSCC National FF1600
2017: Formula Speed – Triple Crown & West Coast champion.?2016: Formula Speed – Triple Crown champion
Williams made the unusual step of starting in winged cars and switching to the wingless Formula Ford 1600, but it’s been an unquestionably good move having been able to learn off one of the best FF1600 drivers and team bosses ever.
He only stood on the podium once, but in probably the most competitive junior single-seater championship below European F3, it was no failure, and he was in the top 10 in the National Standings and British Grand Prix-based Triple Crown. In the second half of the year he was also one of the fastest drivers over one lap, outqualifying team-mate Joey Foster on several occasions.
Unless he wins in the Formula Ford Fetival or Walter Hayes Trophy he won’t be appearing in the Road to Indy Shootout, but his experience of winged machinery means that he should adapt with relative ease to the demands of a USF2000, Pro Mazda or F3 car.