Red Bull US connection

Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz has confirmed he has held talks with GM about an All-American Formula 1 team, even though the American giant is quick to deny it. "We want to persuade GM that the costs for a hi-tech engine would reduce the ...

Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz has confirmed he has held talks with GM about an All-American Formula 1 team, even though the American giant is quick to deny it.

"We want to persuade GM that the costs for a hi-tech engine would reduce the overall spending for development of mass production engines," said Mateschitz. GM Motorsport boss Herb Fishel denied knowledge of any meetings the Red Bull boss had with his company, though, and claimed he had no direct contact with the Austrian over the matter.

Mateschitz has recently invested more time and money in the plan, which involves Tom Walkinshaw's OrangeArrows Formula 1 team. He is hopeful of finding American drivers and creating an American identity for the team in a bid to capitalize on the United States' increasing interest in Formula 1 as a result of he tUnited States Grand Prix returning to the calendar. This in turn would provide a useful promotional tool to sell Red Bull on the American market.

Red Bull is apparently preparing for a big move, having confirmed that it has ended its relationship with Sauber. The two companies previously enjoyed a close relationship and Red Bull owned 70% of the Sauber team, but it had no decision-making power. When Peter Sauber openly snubbed Red Bull protege Enrique Bernoldi in favour of Kimi Raikkonen, a rift that never healed opened between the two and Red Bull began to plough money into Arrows instead.

The energy drink company is already involved in the IRL, and sponsors former Formula 1 driver Eddie Cheever's team. Incidentally, Cheever uses the Infiniti engine that is prepared by Tom Walkinshaw Racing. "My focus for 2002 is to win the IRL and the Indy 500 for Red Bull and Infiniti," Cheever said. "But if Red Bull and Arrows have other thoughts for the future then I would listen carefully."

If Mateschitz could interest GM, it would be a major coup. The manufacturer is one of only two major car companies not involved in Formula 1 right now, the other being Volkswagen AG, and both have been consistently linked to a Grand Prix effort. If Mateschitz can round up Arrows and GM and turn them into a coherent American-based effort, the commercial rewards could be great.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Enrique Bernoldi , Kimi Raikkonen , Eddie Cheever , Peter Sauber , Tom Walkinshaw
Teams Sauber