New look 2003 Driver Search launched

Red Bull announces new parameters for 2003 driver search Danny Sullivan, 1985 Indianapolis 500 winner, kicked off the 2003 Red Bull driver search this week at the famed Sardi's restaurant in New York City. The event, hosted by Red Bull and The...

Red Bull announces new parameters for 2003 driver search

Danny Sullivan, 1985 Indianapolis 500 winner, kicked off the 2003 Red Bull driver search this week at the famed Sardi's restaurant in New York City. The event, hosted by Red Bull and The Madison Avenue Sports Car Driver & Chowder Society, launched the 2003 program, which begins in May, to find the future American F1 champion.

The driver search programme had a successful debut year in 2002 and 16 talented drivers were whittled down from a variety of racing series to a field of four -- Paul Edwards, Grant Maiman, Joel Nelson and Scott Speed. These final four were placed in different Red Bull sponsored rides in Formula 3, Formula 3000, Formula Nissan and Formula Renault for this season.

Making the process more stressful was the shooting of a reality series coined "American Racer", which followed the 2002 field throughout the selection process. The future F1 candidates were also poked and prodded by Austrian doctors and nutritionists who put them on excruciating nutrition, physical and mental fitness routines. This was to make sure the boys were not only ready to race, but able-bodied to race. "American Racer" will once again film the new round of candidates through the 2003 process.

This year there is a new twist to the program. As in 2002, a group of "talent scouts" will scour America looking for the 12 best American drivers from within the junior racing scene. New for 2003 is the addition of another set of 12 drivers who will be chosen by elimination through the American go-kart community.

A total of 24 young drivers will compete in the Semi-Final event at Sebring, September 2-4. This three-day competition will include instruction and testing by the Skip Barber Racing School, where they will drive Formula Dodge 2-liter racecars. The third day at Sebring will host the last competitions to determine the 10 finalists.

Those 10 finalists will race at the Paul Ricard Circuit in Southern France in F3 cars, for two days, to establish the winners.

There will be 2-4 slots for the winners to slide into after the 2003 Red Bull driver search program concludes. Two spots are definite for the winners, but the performance of the 2002 field of four drivers will be re-assessed: if any of those drivers are not living up to the expectations of their teams, they can be replaced by one of the 2003 candidates.

Formula 1 is the hardest series for young American race talent to break into. US based sponsors shy away from backing a potential champion who will spend the majority of his career overseas. Energy drink manufacturer Red Bull, an Austrian company, continues its vision to change that with the announcement of the continuation of this successful marketing endeavor for at least the next five years.

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Paul Edwards , Danny Sullivan , Scott Speed , Skip Barber , Joel Nelson