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Speed - America’s next champion? 07 Dec 2005

Scott Speed (USA) Red Bull Racing Third Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, Canadian Grand Prix, Preparations, Montreal, Canada, 9 June 2005 Scott Speed (USA) Red Bull Racing Third Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, United States Grand Prix, Preparations, Indianapolis, USA, 16 June 2005 Scott Speed (USA) Red Bull Racing Third Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, United States Grand Prix, Practice Day, Indianapolis, USA, 17 June 2005 Scott Speed (USA) Red Bull Racing. Formula One Testing, Barcelona, Spain, 23 March 2005. Scott Speed (USA) Red Bull Racing RB1. Formula One Testing, Barcelona, Spain, 23 March 2005. World © McNeil/Sutton

Californian one step closer to dream of world title

Not since Michael Andretti in 1993 has an American driver raced in Formula One and the last time an American competed in his home Grand Prix was Eddie Cheever at Phoenix back in 1989. Scott Speed will change all that next season when he lines up on the grid for Red Bull’s new Scuderia Toro Rosso team.

“In a word, fantastic,” said Speed after his race seat was confirmed on Tuesday. “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.”

Speed, 22 and from Manteca in California, won the Red Bull American Driver Search programme in 2002. The prize was a move to Europe and a British Formula 3 drive. Unfortunately, he fell ill with colitis, a digestive tract condition, and was unable to complete a full season. He quickly fought back, though, winning the Formula Renault German and Eurocup Championships in 2004.

This season he graduated to the GP2 series, finishing third behind Williams-bound Nico Rosberg and Renault’s latest signing Heikki Kovalainen, and has already had several Formula One tests for Red Bull. Earlier this year, he drove the team’s third car in the Friday practice sessions of the Canadian and US Grands Prix.

“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.”

The last American driver to achieve that feat was Mario Andretti, father of aforementioned Michael, with Lotus back in 1978.