McLaren Rebuts Haas: Top IndyCar Drivers Would Be ‘Competitive’ In F1

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Josef Newgarden, Scott Dixon

Photo via Shanna Lockwood/USA TODAY Sports Images

Haas F1 Team and McLaren might have more connections to the United States than most Formula One outfits, but they have very different assessments of the Verizon IndyCar Series field.

McLaren executive director Zak Brown said Thursday at Daytona International Speedway that he thinks there are IndyCar drivers who could successfully transition to F1, according to RACER.

Team principal Gunther Steiner revealed Jan. 12 that Haas thinks there currently are no American drivers ready for F1. Brown, by contrast, thinks the IndyCar field is competitive enough that he could hand-pick a driver pairing from the series.

“Specifically I think Josef Newgarden is an outstanding talent, and I think Scott Dixon is an outstanding talent,” Brown told RACER. “I also don’t subscribe that you’re old at a (certain age) — I mean, eventually you get old — but I think what happens with drivers is they ultimately lose motivation. That’s what catches up with them.”

Although the McLaren boss feels as though Newgarden and Dixon are up to the task, he admits the F1’s stringent testing limitations make it difficult for people to enter the series from any route other than the junior formulas.

“So the system does’t really allow you to bring someone in,” Brown said. “I think it’s great that Toro Rosso took someone like Brendon Hartley because there’s risk with that decision, but he knows all of those tracks as well.”

It’s funny that Brown named Dixon as one of the racers he would give a seat to. Graham Rahal similarly responded to Lewis Hamilton’s criticism of IndyCar in June by saying that Hamilton would have “more than he really wants to deal with” if the Kiwi were his Mercedes-AMG Petronas teammate.

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