Red Bull Racing confirmed on September 1st that Scott Speed's contract with the team has been extended and he will take a test driver role in 2006. The 22-year old Californian has tested several times with Red Bull and was in the third driver seat...
Red Bull Racing confirmed on September 1st that Scott Speed's contract with the team has been extended and he will take a test driver role in 2006. The 22-year old Californian has tested several times with Red Bull and was in the third driver seat at Montreal and Indianapolis earlier this season.
"Obviously, I'm extremely pleased that Red Bull Racing has decided to extend my contract," said Speed. "This season has been very good for me and to take this step forward with Red Bull Racing for next year and hopefully beyond is a great opportunity."
"My aim has always been to race in Formula 1, it's my dream and this makes it much more of a reality. I've still got a hell of a lot to learn, but with the team around me and with David Coulthard as one of my team-mates, I'm in the best place to be able to do that."
Like many drivers, Speed started in karting then developed his talents in the Red Bull American Formula One Driver Search programme. As part of the Red Bull Junior Team he competed in British F3 in 2003 then won the German and European Formula Renault championships in 2004. This season he competes in GP2, the series that replaced F3000.
Speed first tested for Red Bull Racing in March and come June he replaced Tonio Liuzzi in the third driver role for the North American legs of the championship. He currently lies third in the GP2 championship standings.
"It was a natural decision to extend Scott's contract for 2006," said Red Bull sporting director Christian Horner. We've been impressed with what he's achieved in GP2 this year, and the pace he has shown in tests and when driving the team's third car in Canada and Indianapolis is a strong indication of his potential."
"Scott's role will be very important as the team develops next year. He's one of the strongest drivers to come out of the USA for a long time and we're pleased to be able to give him the opportunity to demonstrate his potential within Formula One."
"His progression from karting championships to Formula 1 demonstrates the benefit of the Red Bull American Formula 1 drivers search. Offering support and advice, the programme is geared towards helping talented USA drivers like Scott, into Formula 1 and opening up opportunities that might otherwise not have been available."
Speed's signing means either Christian Klien or Tonio Liuzzi may be out of a job with Red Bull. The pair have traded the second race seat alongside David Coulthard; currently Klien is racing but Liuzzi is expected to be back in competition before the end of the season.
The team has already said that the seat-sharing will not continue next year and a decision will be made at the end of this season as to which one will partner Coulthard in 2006. Neither is likely to want to settle for a test role, if indeed Red Bull wants a second tester.