Audi Sport‘s FIA World Endurance Championship star Andre Lotterer believes the Japanese-based Super Formula championship should be a viable route for drivers to make it into Formula 1.
The German driver, who has competed in the series every year since 2003 and has finished in the top five in every year he has run, winning outright back in 2011 with the Petronas Team TOM’S outfit, believes the professional nature of the championship should make it somewhere Formula 1 teams should look at for future talent.
Lotterer believes that since he made his debut in motorsport, the landscape has changed, and drivers are coming into Formula 1 with less experience but more money, rather than spending a few years in the junior categories learning their trade and improving on track.
“It should be [a viable route to F1],” said Lotterer to Motorsport.com. “I think the ingredients and the level [are there] – we’re all professional drivers, it’s a fantastic school for drivers where I evolved a lot and sharpened my skills over the years.
“I believe the level is very high and, like I said, it’s pro drivers. And I don’t think you find this in junior categories in Europe.
“Okay, you find the occasional talents but the people they are racing against are not established. 20 years ago, getting into F1, most of the drivers were almost 30 because they had to go through and prove themselves.
“And now I think motorsport has completely changed, it’s: ‘How much money do you have? Okay, you get a seat’.
“I do believe even young talents are great, they can do exceptional things. But I know I became a much better driver in my late 20s than I was in my early 20s, because I learned a lot more and I arrived at a much higher level.
“I had much more [of a chance] to go into Formula 1 when I was younger, although I was not as good as I am now.”