Scott Speed to become third Red Bull driver

UPDATE #6 This rumor is now upgraded to 'fact.' Speed will be Red Bull's third driver for both the Canadian and US Grand Prix. We await the formal announcement. 06/01/05 American racer Scott Speed was scheduled to test at Silverstone but the British weather intervened and he never got the chance to set a lap time as BAR, Renault and Toyota had to cancel their tests altogether. 05/30/05 Formula One is heading to North America for a double-header with the Canadian Grand Prix on June 12 in Montreal and the United States Grand Prix on June 19 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. California's Scott Speed could participate as a test driver in both events. If that happens, he would become the first driver from the United States to take part in a Grand Prix weekend since Michael Andretti finished third in the 1993 Italian Grand Prix.

Speed would not race but instead work in a testing role as the third driver for Red Bull Racing in the Friday practice sessions in Montreal and Indianapolis. The rules permit teams that finished fifth or lower in the previous year's Constructors Championship to run a third car and driver in the two Friday practice sessions of a Grand Prix. Red Bull has alternated Christian Klien and Vitantonio Liuzzi in the third-driver testing role but is seriously considering putting Speed in the car for the two North American F1 races. "We will give Speed a test at Silverstone (England) on Wednesday (June 1) in an F1 car," Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner said. "After that, we will decide if he will be our third driver in Canada and Indianapolis."

This will be Speed's second time in a F1 car. He greatly impressed the team when he tested a F1 car earlier this year. "All the seat time you can get in a F1 car is helpful," Speed said of his upcoming test. "It is quite a different driving style to the GP2 cars, so it requires experience."

Speed is one of the leading stars of the Red Bull Driver Search program that aims to promote talented young U.S. drivers on the path to F1. He is racing in the new GP2 series, the final stepping-stone before Formula One, this year and has three podium finishes.

If Speed gets the chance to drive a F1 car in Montreal and at his home Grand Prix in Indianapolis, he will be delighted. "It is quite exciting," he said. "It's great: F1 and the whole crowd and all the things that go with it are awesome, but at the end of the day you are still trying to go fast." USGP

05/28/05 Word in Germany is that Scott Speed, who would be the first American on a grand prix track since Michael Andretti in 1993, will do the imminent North American leg – Canada and USA – in the third practice RB1. At Montreal, Christian Klien will re-take the racing wheel, but Tonio Liuzzi – a four race stint behind him – would sit the back-to-back out as Speed, 22, made his mark. Compounding the tale is that Speed is scheduled to test the car at Silverstone next week. A decision is expected by Wednesday. 05/22/05 Peter Windsor reported this morning on the preview show for the Grand Prix of Monaco that American GP2 driver Scott Speed will be named as the third Red Bull F1 driver for the Canadian and US Grand Prix races. He said that neither the team nor the sponsors have confirmed it, but he added, "You heard it here first." [Editor's Note: Not so Peter, reported this for over a month now.] 04/06/05 We first broke this story a week ago. Now our F1 correspondent is hearing the same thing. Speed to take 'Friday' job. Scott Speed is the hot tip to take over Red Bull's 'Friday' ride from the San Marino grand prix. The American, 22, is a product of the energy drink brand's long running search for a US-born F1 driver program.

''An announcement … will be made in due course,'' a statement said in reference to the vacancy, following the decision to unseat Christian Klien, not eligible for the spare seat. But Speed, who tested the Red Bull car at Barcelona last month, is set to race in the 'GP2' category this year, which would clash with the F1 role. GP2 qualifying practice, for example, is staged on Friday at 3.30pm — just half an hour after the second F1 session. Switzerland's Neel Jani is the other contender.

03/31/05 Our moles in the Bahrain paddock tell us that If Liuzzi gets the expected Red Bull race seat after the 3rd or 4th F1 race it will leave regular driver Christian Klien on the outside looking in as he is unable to take the Friday test seat because he has too much experience (more than 3 races). This will open the door for American Scott Speed (Right) to become the third driver (Friday Driver) for Red Bull F1 just in time for the USGP at Indy. This will give Indy and US Red Bull huge publicity. Speed already has his super license and is expected to start testing on a more regular basis as time allows from his GP2 duties. Mark C.

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