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"F1 is an elitist sport," declares IndyCar racer Graham Rahal

NEWS STORY
20/09/2022

Graham Rahal, son of IndyCar legend, Bobby Rahal, has joined the debate over Colton Herta's failed bid to enter F1, declaring that the series is "elitist" and doesn't respect IndyCar.

His comments come as Red Bull motorsport consultant, Helmut Marko admits giving up on attempts to bring Colton Herta to F1, having failed to get the FIA to issue a special dispensation to the American in terms of the points required for his superlicence.

While F1 CEO, Stefano Domenicali and a number of team bosses argued against making an exemption for Herta, others claim that the superlicence points system is weighted against IndyCar and appears to place more value on series like F3 and F2.

Rahal, who races in IndyCar with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, which is co-owned by his father, three-time IndyCar champion and 1986 Indy 500 winner, Bobby Rahal, who at one point managed the Jaguar F1 team, took to social media to respond to the claim that F1 is only interested in American money, not American drivers.

"Damn right," responded Rahal. "F1 is an elitist sport. They don't want us. Remember that.

"They want US companies money," he continued, "they want wealthy US individuals money. But they don't care about the rest. Always has been that way, always will be.

"And for those who want to say that Colton Herta didn't 'earn' the right. You're off base. He's as talented if not more than the rest.

"He's a proven winner. He came to the top, and has done exceptionally well. F1 has had ride buyers for years who don't hold a candle to (Herta). FACT!"

Whatever the rights and wrongs - and the superlicence system does appear to 'trivialise' IndyCar in relation to some series - F1 does need more American involvement especially in terms of drivers.

As it happens, Herta is likely to continue racing in IndyCar with Andretti Autosport, team owner, Michael Andretti having discovered F1's 'closed shop' attitude for himself having seemingly failed to secure an entry with his own team following opposition from the likes of Mercedes and Domenicali.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by LiamIII, 21/09/2022 13:33

"Since we're going here I must say this. My family (on both sides) left England and Scotland and arrived on the shores of Jamestown to settle this piece of land. So, yeah, I feel like I am eliteist and love the pinnacle of all sports, worldwide. Healthy discussing, er. arguing is just fine and should be encouraged."

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2. Posted by BrightonCorgi, 19/09/2022 20:32

"If Canada, Mexico, and Brazil can develop talent for F1; USA can as well. Bunch of BS.

All it takes is check and pen to front US talent through the junior F1 series."

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3. Posted by CrazyCanuck, 19/09/2022 17:02

"If you really want elitist, there's the America's Cup...

Last I looked the American League Toronto Blue Jays were still located in Canada but what's in a name?

The so-called "World" Rally Championship has 10 of its 13 races in Europe, no rally in the Americas, North or South, at all, it hasn't come here in Canada in 43 years, and last time in the USA was 35 years ago. "

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4. Posted by Chester, 19/09/2022 16:43

"Understood, Max. A good point. I do think most would agree that logistics would be more than difficult, and I do believe their are Japanese players on Major League (admittedly America and Canadian) teams."

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5. Posted by Max Noble, 19/09/2022 13:25

"@Chester - ah … I’m more thinking that Japan was refused entry to the league… Not really “World” when you need to be American to field a team… Nothing elitist there I’m sure…"

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6. Posted by Chester, 19/09/2022 12:39

"World Series Baseball. If you have enough talent you can be on a US baseball team, as many Latins are. There is no barrier to entry but talent. World Series Baseball is not an argument. Logistics not competition is the limiting factor in having Sao Paulo or Mumbai baseball teams compete with each other. "

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7. Posted by Chester, 19/09/2022 12:32

"@Spindoctor, your Escort example is good, except that with enough money anyone can enter Nascar. Not so in F1 for Andretti.
@ Others: fancy words that mean nothing are the refuge of folks without an argument."

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8. Posted by ancient70!, 19/09/2022 8:28

"@kenji, I thought Andretti was trying to build its own car and team? Helps a fat lot if the elite then says “sorry, you are not playing with my ball!” And I am sure they not even sorry!"

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9. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 19/09/2022 8:10

"I think the point Rahal et al are trying to make is that it seems that F2 gets a higher ranking than IndyCar and I can see that point.
It does, on the face of it, seem odd that a multiple winner in a single seat series like IndyCar doesn't have enough points to compete in F1.
If the Super License system exists to show how competent a driver is as well as how safe that driver is around other racers then IndyCar should rank quite highly due to the speeds those cars reach and the different types of circuit being road and oval.
In regard to a US constructor / engine supplier joining F1, well, perhaps they are smart enough to see that "investing" all that money for scant reward isn't all its cracked up to be for a new team."

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10. Posted by Spindoctor, 18/09/2022 15:14

"@Chester
So in non-elitist USA can I just rock up to (say) a NASCAR event in my tuned Escort & get to compete? Establishing an “elite” is the very essence, the sine qua non of Sport…."

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11. Posted by kenji, 18/09/2022 13:42

"@ Max...."Best Burnouts at the Bermondsey Corral'....love it."

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12. Posted by Max Noble, 18/09/2022 12:25

"@Kenji - gave me a smile… yup so true. Simply build a team and win… Hang on… Ford GT-40 anyone…? They have done it once, so go do it again…!"

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13. Posted by kenji, 18/09/2022 11:13

"@ Chester....that's it then. Never mind the duel at dawn with either sword or pistol in damp and foggy weather with seconds muffled up to their craggy eyebrows, dripping with dew! Time has come for the US Indycar boys to muscle up and build their own F1 cars that can take on the might of the Euros as then, and only then, will we dispel this ugly and discordant rhetoric concerning elitism. Surely if you, the Good Ole Boys, can build the worlds most sophisicated stealth fighters and despatch a box of gubbins to Mars then a mere motor racecar should be as easy as buying a sub machine gun and bullet proof vest at the nearest Walmart. MA[MR].GA , a slogan to be grown and nurtured."

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14. Posted by Max Noble, 18/09/2022 10:56

"@Chester - “World Series Baseball” - quite…"

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15. Posted by Chester, 18/09/2022 10:45

"Rahal is correct. There is an anti-American feeling in F1. Heck, I read it in the F1 articles and commentary, especially how American-owned Liberty has "wrecked" the sport.
No one likes their club to be "taken over" by the new guys, hence the term nouve riche (how dare there have money- they're just hicks, you know). In the end it is human nature.
"

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