The U.S. will have to wait for next American F1 Champion

Photo courtesy of LAT USAWith Joe Gibbs Racing’s signing of Kyle Busch to a long-term contract that will keep him in NASCAR for the foreseeable future, any notion of the possibility of the younger Busch becoming the next great hope for America in Formula 1 went right out the window. And before you fire-up your flame throwers, I’m well aware of the myriad programs churning right now to get young American hot shoes pointed in the direction of an F1 career, and I applaud them mightily. But the Kyle Busch situation is different in that I am firmly convinced that with a precisely executed indoctrination period and seated with a proper, competitive team, Busch could have contended for a F1 championship right now.

Peter M. De Lorenzo is a national columnist who founded Autoextremist.com, a highly-regarded website devoted to news, commentary and analysis of the auto industry. He is considered to be one of the most influential voices commenting on the business today.And no, I’m not interested in generating an instant referendum on Kyle Busch’s behavior over the last couple of seasons either. No matter what side of the Kyle Busch fence you come down on - as in love him or hate him - there’s no denying the young driver’s meteoric talent. In fact I believe Kyle’s pure natural ability behind the wheel is the kind that only comes along once in a generation, meaning he can easily run at the front of the field in any racing series he chooses to compete in. And there’s no doubt that the fledgling USF1 effort had its eyes on the young superstar as part of creating an all-American driving effort in the global racing series.

And Busch’s tempestuous personality would have been good for stirring up F1 too. After all, judging by the boorish behavior repeatedly demonstrated by some of F1’s “stars,” Busch could have duked it out with the best of them, on and off the track. It would have been good for the sport, and it would have probably forced F1 to stage a race back on U.S. soil sooner, rather than later.

It’s clear that by inking this deal with JGR Kyle Busch has taken the path of least resistance when it comes to his driving career. He knows NASCAR, he’s embarking on NASCAR team ownership with a couple of Truck Series entries this year, and the idea of jumping to a totally different form of racing held little appeal to Busch when all was said and done. And it’s too bad because I really believe if he was given the proper opportunity with a front line F1 team, he not only could have been a contender in no time, but he could have had a real shot at becoming the third American World Champion in F1 history, after Phil Hill and Mario Andretti.

So instead of having a shot at seeing an American F1 contender arrive in the next couple of years in the form of Kyle Busch, we’ll have to wait and see what young driving star emerges from the trenches in the coming racing seasons.

So the wait continues…