Wheldon’s F1 chances

UPDATE #3 Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon will not rule out a dream move to Formula One as early as next year — but it would take an offer he could not refuse.

"I did have offers to go to Formula One," Wheldon told Reuters in a recent interview. "I do love Formula One — there's no doubt about it. It's what I grew up knowing.

"But I felt none of the offers were good enough in order to leave America. If I accomplish what I did last year I think that would be a good opportunity to move on."

"I was going to be a test driver to start with but they couldn't necessarily guarantee me a race seat for 2007," he said before this week's Indy Japan 300 race.

"I wanted a way of being judged so that if I did a good enough job I would get moved up. They couldn't set anything out in stone to give me that opportunity. have huge amounts of respect for (BMW-Sauber's motorsport director) Mario Theissen but we will just have to see what the future holds."

"I've got a point to prove this year," said Wheldon, who is bidding for a third consecutive Japanese victory his week. "I wanted a new challenge. I want to win in a different team.

"Right now my focus is Indy cars but you never know in this business."

"I said when I first came here that I wouldn't ever think about leaving the States until I'd won the Indianapolis 500 or the championship," said Wheldon.

"I thought personally the opportunity might have arisen last year where I could have done something with Honda in Formula One but it didn't.

"We'll have to see what happens when the right opportunity arrives."

"People forget about you if you are not winning consistently," he said. "Let's continue to do that and see what doors open then.

"Formula One's always been a great passion of mine. Mr. Jakobi [his manager] is staying ahead of what's going on and planning for my future."

04/01/06 Wheldon can put his F1 dreams to bed. He's 1.75 sec. off the pace in St. Petersburg. F1 bound drivers simply don't qualify that slow in a lower 'spec' series. Wheldon is a good oval racer who will stay in the IRL or go to NASCAR.

09/30/05 We are upgrading this rumor to 'fact' today. As we predicted, an IRL driver is not going to get an F1 ride. Wheldon was dreaming.

Indy Racing League champion Dan Wheldon is planning to race in Europe after this Indy-car season ends, but it won't be in Formula One as he had hoped. Wheldon said Thursday his manager's recent talks with the BMW and Williams F-1 teams have not led to serious consideration. At least not in the time frame that I have," the Indianapolis 500 winner said.

Wheldon needs to settle his contract with Andretti Green Racing, with whom he clinched the IRL title Sunday at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. The two sides say they have agreed to terms on a multiyear deal, but a contract has not been signed.

Wheldon's manager, Julian Jakobi, declined Thursday to discuss the driver's options until a contract has been finalized.

As for racing in Europe, Wheldon said he will compete in the all-star Race of Champions in Paris on Dec. 3, although the event's Web site lists David Coulthard and Colin McRae as Great Britain's drivers. Indy Star

09/27/05 Our Williams sources tell us that Williams have not even contacted Wheldon about F1. Frank Williams thinks winning the IRL crown is meaningless. Our source's quote, "Just another case of Danny Boy trying to convince everyone in Great Britain that he is a great driver." Based on his performance in all of the IRL road courses, him driving in F1 is a joke! He got lucky at St Pete. The only one in the AGR camp who might end up in F1 someday is Marco Andretti, and that will be if he can mop up the opposition in Star Mazda and other formula besides IndyCar or IPS. So far the jury is still out.

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