Josef Newgarden drummed up more than publicity during his recent trip to Circuit of the Americas.
Currently riding the wave of his first Verizon IndyCar Series championship, Newgarden said Thursday that attending the United States Grand Prix also stirred up his love of Formula One, according to Motorsport.com.
Team Penske drivers Newgarden and Joey Logano were in Austin, Texas, to participate in a Facebook Live show along with Sebastian Vettel for Shell-Pennzoil. For Newgarden, the trip was his first opportunity to see the 2017-spec F1 cars in person.
“It reignited my passion for F1 cars,” he said of his trip to the Circuit of the Americas last weekend. “I haven’t seen them up close in a couple of years. It’s hard not to want to jump in the car and go try and compete with the guys.”
Some had speculated that the 26-year-old IndyCar racer would fill the empty seat at Scuderia Toro Rosso for the U.S. Grand Prix, though Newgarden claims he hadn’t even spoken to STR about it. He also confirmed that he had talks with Haas F1 Team about a full-time drive ahead of 2017, but the discussions were “never anything serious.”
With his renewed fervor for F1, Newgarden claims he will keep close tabs on the sport should an opportunity to switch series present itself. That said, he reaffirmed his commitment to IndyCar, as not to open the door to the type of international speculation that Fernando Alonso was subjected to until he re-signed with McLaren.
“I would love a chance at an F1 car at some point, like many other race cars I would like to try,” Newgarden told Motorsport.com. “(But) I’ve done more than anyone could ask for so I won’t be displeased.”
Although Newgarden’s success both in IndyCar and Indy Lights suggests that he would be able to hold his own in F1, it’s unlikely that he’ll end up in the world championship. As a result, Haas development driver Santino Ferrucci currently has the best chance of becoming the next American F1 driver.
Thumbnail photo via Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports Images