Speed named to Red Bull F1 lineup for 2006; Renault bracing for tough fight next year INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, Oct. 17, 2005 - Californian Scott Speed has been named as one of five drivers who will be the lineup for Red Bull's two Formula One teams...
Speed named to Red Bull F1 lineup for 2006; Renault bracing for tough fight next year
INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, Oct. 17, 2005 - Californian Scott Speed has been named as one of five drivers who will be the lineup for Red Bull's two Formula One teams that will compete in the 2006 United States Grand Prix on July 2 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and in the rest of the World Championship season.
The five drivers are: David Coulthard, Neel Jani, Christian Klien, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Speed.
Red Bull completes its take over of the Minardi team Nov. 1 and will rename it Squadra Toro Rosso, which is Italian for Team Red Bull. Coulthard will be the lead driver for Red Bull Racing, the team he drove for in 2005.
The teams have yet to officially nominate which of the other four will be drivers or test/reserve drivers for which team.
"The two will remain as totally separate entities," said Christian Horner, team principal of Red Bull Racing. "Minardi (Squadra Toro Rosso) will continue to operate from Italy, and both teams have different objectives.
"Red Bull Racing's objectives are totally clear, going forward, to move further up the field. We have quite a lot of developments coming over the winter that should help us to move forward, whereas the second team is very much the final step on the Red Bull ladder for the young driver program and the perfect shop window for those young drivers."
Speed, 22, is one of the leading stars in the Red Bull talent development program that aids promising young drivers on the way to getting a F1 seat.
The fight is on: Fernando Alonso, the 2005 FIA Drivers World Champion, and Renault, the 2005 Constructors World Champion, can expect a fierce fight from the competition as they try to hold on to their twin titles in 2006.
"Coming so close to the titles this year has only made us more determined, so bring on 2006," said 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya.
Montoya finished fourth in the final 2005 standings while his McLaren-Mercedes teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, wound up second. McLaren, which won 10 of the 19 races, remained in the hunt for the Constructors Championship right up until the final race.
"It's frustrating not to achieve the result we want at the end of a season where we have finished on the podium 18 times and claimed 10 victories," said McLaren team principal Ron Dennis. "Both drivers have done a good job this season as has the team, and we will work hard to ensure that the momentum continues next season."
The 2005 season brought an end to the championship reigns of Michael Schumacher, the Drivers World Champion for the past five years, and Ferrari, the Constructors World Champion for the past six years.
"Let's look ahead to putting things right next season," said four-time United States Grand Prix winner Schumacher.
Ferrari team principal Jean Todt echoed Schumacher's thoughts.
"I hope we can put this year behind us as quickly as possible and to be back for the start of the next season in a position to once again aim for the top," Todt said. "To do that, we have a lot of work ahead of us along with our friends at Bridgestone, in whom we have great confidence."
Renault's championships: Renault-powered cars won the Constructors World Championship in 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1997, and the Drivers World Championship in all those seasons except 1994.
The 2005 season marks the first time that Renault won the titles as both the chassis and engine builder.
Star visitor: Film star Jackie Chan was part of the pre-race ceremonies in China.
Sauber's emotional day: The Chinese Grand Prix was the final race for team owner Peter Sauber, who began racing in F1 in 1993 and has sold his team to BMW.
"This was one of the most emotional days of my time in Formula One, for both myself and for the team," he said. "It was a very exciting race with a happy ending. I want to thank everyone on the team for doing an excellent job today and over the past 13 years, and all our fans back home in Switzerland and around the world for the unfailing support we have enjoyed so much during our memorable time in Formula One."
Minardi's tally: This was the final race for Minardi in its present guise. The team, established in 1985, was owned by Paul Stoddart for the past five years. Red Bull takes over the team next year.
"The tally is 340 Grands Prix, 21 seasons, 37 drivers and one World Champion, with perhaps more to come," Stoddart said. "That's a pretty impressive record by any standards, and I'm proud of each and every member of the Minardi team. Together with all of our colleagues back at the factory in Faenza (Italy), this team has a heart and soul second to none.
"The words 'Never has so much been achieved by so few with so little,' can never have been as justified as they are with Minardi. Given that the team has survived against all odds over the years, competing with both dignity and passion while contributing so much to the FIA Formula One World Championship, today is a sad day."
Newly crowned World Champion Fernando Alonso made his F1 debut with Minardi in 2001. While Minardi will lose its true privateer status, the team will continue to groom young drivers under new owner Red Bull.
Rosberg joins Williams: Nico Rosberg, the son of 1982 World Champion and two-time United States Grand Prix winner Keke Rosberg, either will race or test for Williams-Cosworth in 2006.
"Frank (Williams) said I will be one of the three drivers," he said, "so at least I will be test driver next year and hopefully race driver. It will be decided in the next week or two."
Rosberg won the inaugural GP2 Series title this season.
2006 USGP tickets: Ticket information for the 2006 United States Grand Prix, scheduled for Sunday, July 2, is available online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, or by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.