Verstappen dominance will not impact F1's popularity in US, says Andretti


Mario Andretti is confident that Max Verstappen's current domination of the sport will not compromise the sport's popularity in the US.

Arguably one of the greatest drivers ever to sit in a racing car, Andretti has something of a vested interest for his son Michael is hoping to enter the sport in 2026.

Andretti, who won the 1978 title, at a time the sport enjoyed a limited but fiercely loyal following in the States, has seen F1 flourish in the last couple of years.

However, as viewing figures appear to plateau, there are fears that Americans might grow bored and switch off.

"Every fan has their own way of looking at things," he tells RacingNews365. "From my standpoint, I think it's quite interesting and remains interesting to see how long he can go on with this dominance.

"He's making history," he adds, "so that's a beautiful thing for the sport, knowing what the task is at hand, you have to admire what he has done so far and say ‘keep going'.

"The rest of the competitors, they are not sitting still either," he continues, "so there is going to be a moment where he is challenged further and everyone will want to see when that moment will arrive, there is always something to look forward to.

"If you really look at it deeply and see what it takes to maintain that type of performance, not just as a driver but as a team as well, it's a team sport, and everyone is performing at the absolute limit. Let's see how long they can keep that going, but you look at other teams that are chomping at the bit to share that limelight. McLaren in the last few races, their performance has been admirable too.

"Everyone is working to the limit and that's the interesting part about it, you keep looking forward to the next event to see how it unfolds."

As for Andretti's view of Max the racer...

"All you have to do is look at the record and how he has matured in a short period of time, quite honestly," he says. "He is carrying that mantle quite superbly, he is under a lot of pressure, of course, everyone is, but there are no mistakes.

"Right now, he's been challenged, no question. It is not easy. Let's face it, his team-mate Sergio Perez is a really good driver, he has shown his abilities but Max is number one in the team and you have to support that. But at the same time, he has shown he can rise to any occasion under any circumstance and I don't think you could expect or want anything more from a driver.

"Right now, I look at Max Verstappen as being absolutely spectacular."

High praise... but then again, Max doesn't have a Ronnie Peterson breathing down his neck.

Article from Pitpass (

Published: 16/08/2023
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