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Why didn't Ford loby for an American driver at some point?


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#1 Megatron

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Posted 11 October 2001 - 11:19

In 1967, Lotus would occasionly give a "guest" drive to a local hero with the Ford powered 49. But there was not an American driver to be found with a DFV behind his head. In fact, as American is Ford is, they have seemingly had very little imput in putting US drivers in the F1 arena.

An all time low came when the squad repainted the car green and called it Jaguar to show how "British" they were. (Totally alienating many US fans such as myself from ever cheering for anything Ford). :rolleyes:

The only US driver to win a World Championship in a Ford powered car was Andretti, and by then, it was very much a stituation where Ford kept a low profile with their engines, with the only Ford insignia on most cars being on the engine cover themselves.

Has Ford ever wanted an American in F1? Have they ever tried? Why didn't they supply AAR as well as Lotus when they started? Its things like this that make me support GM. Yes GM. They may not go racing very much, but when they do, like the Corvettes in ALMS or even the Caddy, at least they don't call it Saab.

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#2 BertlF

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Posted 11 October 2001 - 11:25

Well, Megatron, I don't know if you could compare the racing history (in F1 and sports car racing - not in rallye!) of Saab and Jaguar....;)

Bert

#3 dmj

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Posted 11 October 2001 - 11:35

Ford as a worldwide company mainly wanted to promote the brand through F1 outside USA, so they probably didn't want to bother with promoting American drivers into what in essence was and still is an European-based sport...
They made much more fuss about Le Mans wins, and that is where they used US drivers - but it was a complete Ford car (sorry, Eric Broadley), not just engines. It was probably that they found it much more appropriate to US market...

#4 BRG

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Posted 11 October 2001 - 12:28

I think it rather depends on whether you see Ford as a US company. I tend to see it as a multinational that happens to have a big office in Dearborn (or wherever). Ford have built cars in Britain since the 1920s and in Germany, Belgium, Spain etc for ages as well. Many people in Britain regard Ford (wrongly, I know) as British. And if Ford see themselves as multinational, then that may be why they haven't championed US drivers.

If it is any consolation to Megatron, many of us in the British rallying fraternity were angry with Ford UK throughout the 1970s and 80s for consistently favouring Scandinavian drivers and never giving British guys a chance. Roger Clark could and should have been World Rally Champion (if such a title had existed then) but was never given the chance by Ford.

There is also the question of how much other manufacturers favour their own compatriots in F1. In practice, not much, at least in more recent years. Ferrari/FIAT hardly ever use Italians, Mercedes haven't had many German drivers, BMW only have a German now for the first time. Of course, Honda have usually tried to have a Japanese driver, and the most nationalistic of all (perhaps predictably) seems to have been Renault although not apparently in their latest incarnation. So Ford are not really out of step - after all for big business, it is money that talks, not national loyalties.

#5 David M. Kane

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Posted 12 October 2001 - 17:51

Chapman put Andretti in a Lotus 49 at Watkins Glen pretty early on and he put the thing on the pole. This in essence kick started
Mario's F1 career.

#6 mhferrari

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Posted 13 October 2001 - 18:23

Yes, Lotus did give Andretti his F1 debut at Watkins Glen in 1968. So that would be a guest appearance.