The 4 best American F1 drivers: Andretti, Hill, Gurney & Sargeant?

Alex Gassman

by Alex Gassman

American F1 drivers Phil Hill, Mario Andretti and Dan Gurney

Formula One drivers from the US - statistics

Total US F1 driver statistics:

American F1 Drivers
Number of F1 drivers 58
World championship titles 2
Grand Prix competed in 488
Race wins 33
Podiums 129
Pole positions 39
Fastest laps 36
Drivers on current F1 grid 1

The United States of America has produced two World Champions and multiple race winners in Formula 1.

Now, with a revitalised interest thanks to Drive to Survive, the US hosts three F1 races including the Miami Grand Prix, Las Vegas Grand Prix and Austin Grand Prix as the States continues to build its following of the sport.

Let’s look at four American F1 drivers in particular; three of the best plus one on the current grid.

The 3 best American F1 drivers

3 - Dan Gurney

  • Previous teams: Ferrari, BRM, McLaren, Lotus, Porsche, Eagle, Brabham
  • First season: 1959
  • Last season: 1970
  • World Championships: 0
  • Wins: 4
  • Podiums: 19
  • Pole positions: 3
  • Number of GP starts: 86
  • DOB: 13th April 1931
  • Hometown: Port Jefferson, United States of America

Dan Gurney enjoyed a hugely successful racing career, taking four victories in F1 and winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1967 where he sparked the tradition of spraying champagne on the podium, a custom still seen today.

Gurney hit the ground running in Formula 1, taking two podiums from four starts in his rookie year 1959.

Dan Gurney 1970

Image licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

After the following two years produced mixed fortunes, Gurney scored his first F1 victory at the French Grand Prix at Rouen-Les-Essarts.

The American took all nine points on offer in a commanding drive, finishing a lap ahead of his nearest rival, Tony Maggs.

Dan Gurney American F1 driver in 1964

Image licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

The legendary Jim Clark described Gurney as the only rival he feared, as two more wins followed in 1964 in France and Mexico.

His final time on the top step of a Formula 1 podium came at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium with a dominant, masterful victory, more than a minute ahead of the rest of the field.

Gurney entered a Grand Prix for the final time in 1970, ending in retirement for McLaren at Brands Hatch.

2 - Phil Hill

  • Previous teams: Maserati, Ferrari, Cooper, Porsche, ATS, Lotus, McLaren, Eagle
  • First season: 1958
  • Last season: 1966
  • World championships: 1
  • Wins: 3
  • Podiums: 16
  • Pole positions: 6
  • Number of GP starts: 49
  • DOB: 20th April 1927
  • Hometown: Miami, United States of America

Phil Hill became the first American to win the world championship, taking victory in 1961 for Ferrari with two wins in Belgium and Italy on his way to the title.

Hill began his career three years earlier in a one-off entry in a Maserati 250F at Reims, finishing seventh on his debut.

Phil Hill 1962 Dutch GP

Image licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

After scoring two podiums in three races for Ferrari in the same season, Hill had proved his credentials as a formidable Formula 1 driver.

During his championship year, he demonstrated un-matchable consistency and raw speed, standing on the podium in six of the seven races. He took two victories and the the only blip was a ninth-place finish at Reims.

Phil Hill 1962 F1 Holland

Image licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Hill was part of a formidable lineup at Ferrari, driving alongside fellow American Richie Ginther and German Wolfgang Von Trips.

He could never match the dominance he showed in the 1961 season, and 1964 was the last full season he competed in.

The 1961 F1 world champion kept himself busy in other forms of motorsport whilst competing in F1. He won the 24 hours of Daytona in 1964 and the Le Mans 24 hours 3 times, with his final victory coming in 1967.

1 - Mario Andretti

  • Previous teams: Lotus, March, Ferrari, Parnelli, Alfa Romeo, Williams
  • First season: 1968
  • Last season: 1982
  • World championships: 1
  • Wins: 12
  • Podiums: 19
  • Pole positions: 18
  • Number of GP starts: 128
  • DOB: 28th February 1940
  • Hometown: Montona, Italy
Mario Andretti American F1 driver in 1970

Mario Andretti has become synonymous with F1 and motorsport as a whole. He’s the most successful American F1 driver ever, and one of the only four F1 champions who’ve also won the Indycar Championship.

Now he’s back in the news as his family racing team is looking to join the Formula 1 grid in 2026 with an all-American outfit, backed by Cadillac, aiming to compete against the big guns like Red Bull and Mercedes.

Mario Andretti 1963

Image licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Before he joined the F1 grid, Andretti had two attempts at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the Ford GT40 in 1966 and the following year, with each race ending in retirement.

He did manage to win the Daytona 500 in 1967, and that firmly put his name on the international motorsport map.

F1 Team Lotus acquired the Americans’ services for a one-off race in 1968 at the United States Grand Prix. After stunning everyone by qualifying on pole position, a broken clutch ended Andretti’s Formula 1 debut before it even began.

Mario Andretti 1978 British Grand Prix

Image licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

He competed in a handful of races over the next two years which saw a number of retirements. But a third place at Jarama in 1970 gained the attention of Enzo Ferrari. In a hugely impressive driver lineup, the Italian team signed Andretti to race alongside the legendary Swiss F1 driver Clay Regazzoni and Belgian driver Jacky Ickx.

The season started perfectly with a superb victory at Kyalami in South Africa, ahead of Sir Jackie Stewart.

Alongside his exploits in Formula 1, Andretti kept up his presence in endurance racing, winning the 12 Hours of Sebring three times alongside the 1000km of Brands Hatch in 1972.

Mario Andretti 1979

Image licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

A few lean years in F1 meant that his victory at the 1976 Japanese Grand Prix was his first in five seasons, as James Hunt beat Niki Lauda to the title on the same afternoon.

Andretti switched to Team Lotus in 1977, scoring three wins and finished third overall, which perfectly set up the following year’s campaign.

Again driving for Lotus he took six wins in 1978, including a dominant drive at Jarama, finishing almost 20 seconds ahead of Ronnie Peterson. Despite four retirement he did enough to become the first Formula One American driver to win the World Championship.

Mario Andretti Indycar

Image licensed under CC BY 2.0

He failed to return to the lofty heights of 1978, with just two more podiums coming in the next four years before his F1 career ended in 1982.

After that he continued to race very successfully in other forms of motorsport. He won the 1984 Indycar championship and the prestigious Indy 500 for a third time in 1987

Current American Fomula One driver: Logan Sargeant

  • Current team: Williams
  • First season: 2023
  • Last season: Current
  • World championships: 0
  • Wins: 0
  • Podiums: 0
  • Pole positions: 0
  • Number of GP starts: 22
  • DOB: 31st December 2000
  • Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, United States of America

Logan Sargeant is the latest American driver to race in Formula 1; the 23-year-old joined Williams in 2023, replacing the outgoing Nicholas Latifi.

The Floridian delivered multiple karting titles but endured an undulating road to F1. 

Sargeant was tantalisingly close to securing the FIA F3 title in 2020, losing out at Mugello in a three-way duel with Theo Pourchaire and current Australian F1 driver and eventual F3 champion Oscar Piastri.

Finishing fourth in the 2022 FIA F2 championship gave Sargeant enough Super Licence points to secure his drive in Formula 1 and partner Alex Albon at Williams.

The American floundered during his rookie year, making critical mistakes in Saudi Arabia and Australia.

Sargeant failed to match the ultimate pace of his teammate, losing the qualifying head-to-head 22-0. In the news he said that the jump between F2 and Formula 1 cars was too significant.

Despite Williams being unable to challenge the top 10 regularly, the American took the first points finish of his career at the United States Grand Prix. Sargeant finished 10th live in front of his home crowd, just over a second behind his teammate Albon.

The Williams driver is under pressure to retain his seat for 2025 after a sub-par rookie season, particularly with Williams Academy drivers such as Zak O’Sullivan and Franco Colapinto stepping up to FIA F2 this year.

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Alex Gassman

I‘m Alex. I write F1 and motorsport guides based on my experience as a racing driver and full-time motorsport nerd. I’ve traveled the world watching F1 and other racing series.

I started oversteer48 with the aim of helping other motorsport fans who are planning on watching some racing themselves.

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