American F1 Driver Search Initiative Launched U.S. racing legend Danny Sullivan and the Red Bull Energy Drink company are scouting America's next Formula One star. This initiative is the first step toward an 'All-American' F1 Racing Team. One...
American F1 Driver Search Initiative Launched
U.S. racing legend Danny Sullivan and the Red Bull Energy Drink company are scouting America's next Formula One star. This initiative is the first step toward an 'All-American' F1 Racing Team.
One hundred billion TV viewers annually in more than 200 countries. Two billion dollars in revenues each year from advertising and TV rights. Yearly team budgets of several hundred million dollars. Formula One, with its 17 races every season on four continents, is the world's largest motorsport event - and a global leader in TV viewership, on par with the Olympics and world soccer championships.
Two American drivers have won the F1 title in the 52-year history of the championship: Phil Hill in 1961 in a Ferrari and Mario Andretti in 1978 in a Lotus Ford. It's been nine years, however, since an American appeared in Formula One competition: Michael Andretti drove for an F1 team in 1993, the same year Alain Prost won his last title and a year before Ayrton Senna's fatal accident and Michael Schumacher's first title.
The worldwide leader in the energy-drink market, Red Bull, and former F1 competitor and Indy 500 winner Danny Sullivan, have now joined forces to launch the "Red Bull F1 Driver Search Initiative." The program's goal is simple: to find aspiring, up-and-coming American driving talent and help them break into Formula One competition, paving the way for the U.S.'s long-awaited comeback in the world's premiere motor sport.
"We're fully convinced America has a wealth of young drivers with the desire, talent and discipline to race - and win - in F1," says Sullivan, "but they really don't know the hows, wheres or whats needed to get there. The Red Bull F1 Driver Search Initiative is a huge step in putting an end to this."
"American auto racing is not complete without Formula One - and Formula One is not complete without U.S. racers, " says Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz. Red Bull is committed to bridging the gap between two worlds the company knows well - thanks to its backing of the Sauber Petronas and Orange Arrows F1 teams and to its venture with the Red Bull Cheever Racing Team in the Indy Racing League.
Bernie Ecclestone, the "czar" of Formula One racing - universally credited with spearheading its massive worldwide popularity over the past 20 years - fully endorses Red Bull's driver search program, stating: "I'm very pleased with the initiative Red Bull is taking to look for American drivers who will become competitive in Formula One." Ecclestone in fact was actively involved in helping to put many of the initiative's important elements in place.
Details of the initiative - how each year's crop of young American drivers will be scouted, chosen and tested, the number of yearly candidates and which of those will earn a Red Bull scholarship, which teams and championships they'll compete in, etc. - will be addressed in a to-be-announced press conference led by Danny Sullivan.