Background: Most recent American F1 drivers

Background: Most recent American F1 drivers

22 August 2014 – Alexander Rossi will become the first American to compete in Formula 1 since 2007 at the Belgian Grand Prix, the 22-year-old debutant replacing Max Chilton at Marussia while "contractual issues" are resolved. Before he takes to the track, GPUpdate.net looks back at the five most recent drivers to come from the US.

Scott Speed: 2006-7

After a season in GP2, the American with the perfect name for Formula 1 stardom joined the newly updated Toro Rosso team, alongside Vitantonio Liuzzi.

In his first season he was lumbered with fairly uncompetitive machinery, although he managed eighth in Australia before a yellow flag infringement dropped him outside of the points.

In 2007 the Toro Rosso machine was still rather unreliable, but Speed did not help matters with his attitude and several collisions. He was replaced by Sebastian Vettel after the mid-season European Grand Prix.

Michael Andretti: 1993

The son of the legendary Mario Andretti did not fare well during his lone year as a Formula 1 driver.

The McLaren MP4/8 was not the finest car the team had produced, but early season errors from Andretti, coupled with his refusal to move to Europe full-time, did not endear him to the British team.

He scored a handful of points in Spain and France, but by the time he climbed onto the podium in Italy his fate was sealed and he was replaced by Mika Hakkinen for the last three races of the season.

Eddie Cheever: 1978, 1980-89

Cheever achieved moderate success during a Formula 1 career spanning a decade.

He started with the uncompetitive Osella squad before a year with Tyrrell netted him points.

But it was with Ligier and Renault where he enjoyed his greatest period. Cheever scored seven podiums across 1982 and 1983, finishing seventh in the championship in the latter year.

But a few fruitless years followed with Alfa Romeo. A switch to Arrows saw him claim two further podiums, before he left the sport at the end of 1989.

Danny Sullivan: 1983

Sullivan is another highly successful American driver whose Formula 1 record did not reflect his ability.

Sullivan raced for Tyrrell in 1983 at the request of the team's sponsor, Benetton, which wanted an American driver in the car.

Sullivan, 23 at the time, struggled and scored just two points, when he finished fifth in Monaco.

He did, however, go on to famously 'spin and win' the 1985 Indianapolis 500 and claim the IndyCar title in 1988.

Mario Andretti: 1968-1982

Andretti raced in a multitude of series across his lengthy career, including Formula 1.

Andretti made his debut in the sport with Lotus in 1968 and he won in South Africa with Ferrari three years later.

However, it wasn't until 1975 when he committed to Formula 1 full time and it was back at Lotus where he enjoyed his most successful period.

He won 12 races and claimed the 1978 title before a handful of less profitable years, leaving the sport for good after a couple of outings in 1982.

Phillip Horton
Twitter: @PHortonF1


Update: Chilton to race as Marussia makes Spa U-turn

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