SPEED TO PUT AMERICAN ON F1 MAP FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1993 AT USGP Californian to serve as test driver for Red Bull Racing at Indy INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, June 3, 2005 - Scott Speed will be the first American driver to participate in a Formula One...
SPEED TO PUT AMERICAN ON F1 MAP FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1993 AT USGP
Californian to serve as test driver for Red Bull Racing at Indy
INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, June 3, 2005 - Scott Speed will be the first American driver to participate in a Formula One Grand Prix weekend since 1993 when he serves as a test driver for Red Bull Racing during the United States Grand Prix on June 17-19 at Indianapolis.
Speed, 22, from Manteca, Calif., will drive the Red Bull Racing-Cosworth car in the two one-hour practice sessions Friday, June 17 on the 2.605-mile road circuit at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He will join Red Bull Racing race drivers David Coulthard and Christian Klien in the sessions, sharing the track with such drivers as seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher, 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya, 1995 Indianapolis 500 winner and 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve and current F1 points leader Fernando Alonso.
The last time an American driver participated in Formula One was Sept. 12, 1993, when Michael Andretti finished third at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. Speed also will become the first American driver to participate in a Grand Prix on home soil since June 4, 1989, when Eddie Cheever Jr. finished third in the United States Grand Prix at Phoenix.
"This is an incredible opportunity for me," Speed said. "Putting aside the fact that my second appearance at a grand prix will be in my homeland, it is really exciting to be driving an F1 car in front of a big crowd. I have never driven at Indy, so it will be a good experience for me."
FIA rules allow teams that finished outside of the top four in the previous season's Constructors' Championship to run a third car during Friday practice at Grands Prix. Speed also will serve as test driver during the Canadian Grand Prix on June 10-12 at Montreal.
"We have decided to give Red Bull Junior driver Scott Speed a couple of outings in the third car on Friday morning, following a successful test at Silverstone this week and in Barcelona earlier in the year," Red Bull Racing Sporting Director Christian Horner said. "We will be watching his progress with interest. Scott is obviously the most promising talent to come out of the USA for some considerable time. His achievements in Europe have been extremely impressive."
Speed is competing in the new GP2 series this season, the final stepping-stone before Formula One. He has three podium finishes and is second in the point standings.
Speed is a winner of the Red Bull Driver Search, a program designed to groom top young American talent for a seat in Formula One. He fulfilled his promise last season by winning the German and Eurocup Formula Renault titles, becoming the first American driver to win a junior formula championship in Europe.
"It is a common misconception that people in America are not interested in F1," Speed said. "From my experience, everyone racing in the States would love to compete in F1. But for an American, it can be an unattainable target. In my case, backing from Red Bull made it possible.
"Interest in F1 in the States is definitely growing."