Much like Mark Webber and James Courtney's race to become the next Australian in Formula 1, New Zealand's greatest hope, Scott Dixon, now has a battle on his hands in the fight to land a coveted Grand Prix seat. James Cressey has joined his...
Much like Mark Webber and James Courtney's race to become the next Australian in Formula 1, New Zealand's greatest hope, Scott Dixon, now has a battle on his hands in the fight to land a coveted Grand Prix seat. James Cressey has joined his talented fellow countryman Dixon in the race to F1, with the 17-year-old this week being labelled a future star by the man who gave Dixon and Webber, amongst others, their start. "He's a future star alright and he's got his eyes cast on reaching the top," Graham Watson said.
Cressey tested one of Watson's Formula Holdens at Sydney's Oran Park Raceway earlier this week, with the Kiwi lapping within one second of the track record on his first visit to the circuit.
"It was James' first time driving a 'wings and slicks' race car and he was extremely impressive. There's no doubt he has the talent to go all the way."
Watson should know, with his previous drivers giving him a fair indication of the talent required; Dixon progressed from winning the Formula Holden Rookie of the Year title with Watson's Ralt Australia team in 1997 to, this year, winning in the US Champ Car series in his rookie year, while Webber, who won for Watson at Albert Park in 1996, is challenging for the European F3000 title and is the official test driver for the Benetton F1 team.
But while Cressey eyes off the ultimate prize, Watson is being careful about his future.
"The plan is for James to contest the final two races of the Formula Holden series this year, before making a run for the Rookie of the Year title in 2002 and the series title the year after," he says. "From there, it's then up to James and his family, it's either America or Europe. He has the goods to succeed, but we'll first give him the grounding he needs in Formula Holden. "It's worked well before and there's no reason it won't work well again."
New Zealand viewers will be able to monitor the Kiwi teenager via Shell Helix Motorsport on TV ONE. The popular Sunday afternoon motorsport show will keep viewers right up to date as the reigning New Zealand Formula Ford champion takes on the Aussies in the last two rounds of the Holden Australian Drivers Championship.
New Zealand viewers can also watch complete episodes of Trackside on the Telstra Saturn Sports network.