Speed to race for Toro Rosso

AMERICAN SPEED TO RACE IN USGP, FORMULA ONE IN 2006 INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2005 - American Scott Speed will drive for Scuderia Toro Rosso in the United States Grand Prix on July 2 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and in all 19 races in...

AMERICAN SPEED TO RACE IN USGP, FORMULA ONE IN 2006

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2005 - American Scott Speed will drive for Scuderia Toro Rosso in the United States Grand Prix on July 2 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and in all 19 races in the 2006 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Speed, 22, will be the first American to race in F1 since Michael Andretti competed in most of the 1993 season with McLaren-Ford. Speed also will become the first American to race in his home Grand Prix since 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever finished third in the 1989 United States Grand Prix in Phoenix.

"In a word, fantastic," Speed said. "It's certainly a feeling of excitement. To bring F1 closer to the American public is exciting.

"It's going to be incredible to be on the grid in America and at Indy with all of the support behind me. I'm really looking forward to it."

Red Bull confirmed Dec. 6 that Speed and Italy's Tonio Liuzzi will drive for its junior team, Scuderia Toro Rosso (Italian for Red Bull) in 2006. This is the former Minardi team now owned by Red Bull Switzerland's Neel Jani will be the team's third/reserve driver. All three drivers are products of Red Bull's junior driver program, as Speed won the Red Bull Driver Search in 2002.

Speed, from Manteca, Calif., finished third behind Nico Rosberg and Heikki Kovalainen in the inaugural GP2 championship in 2005. GP2 is the final stepping-stone before Formula One on the European racing ladder.

Speed is the latest on the list of talented Americans who have competed in F1 since 1950. Phil Hill, who in 1961 became the first driver from the United States to win the World Championship, and 1969 Indianapolis 500 winner and 1978 World Champion Mario Andretti head the list. Other prominent Americans in F1 included 1972 Indianapolis 500 winner Mark Donohue, 1985 Indianapolis 500 winner Danny Sullivan, Cheever, Michael Andretti, Dan Gurney, Peter Revson, Richie Ginther, George Follmer, Jim Hall, Ronnie Bucknum and Bob Bondurant.

Born on Jan. 24, 1983, in San Jose, Calif., Speed competed in his first kart race in 1993 and won his first national karting title in 1995. In 2002, he was nominated to join Red Bull's Driver Search Program. Speed suffered through a tough season hampered by colitis, a digestive tract illness, in British Formula 3 in 2003 but rebounded to win both the German and Eurocup Formula Renault Championships in 2004.

He has tested an F1 car for Red Bull several times, and in 2005 he drove the third Red Bull in the Friday practice session of the United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"There's been so much hard work, so much we've had to overcome and with the disease I had, and I say 'we' because I had a great group of people supporting me," Speed said. "To be an American in F1, it took so much work to move here and prove to people that I belonged, and the work is just starting.

"It's one step closer to my goal of being World Champion."

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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.

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Eddie Cheever , Phil Hill , Dan Gurney , George Follmer , Bob Bondurant , Mario Andretti , Danny Sullivan , Scott Speed , Nico Rosberg , Heikki Kovalainen , Neel Jani , Peter Revson
Teams McLaren , Toro Rosso , Minardi