Skip Barber’s Scott Speed Reaches F1

Wednesday, February 08, 2006 Skip Barber Racing alumnus Scott Speed, 22, will become the first American since the early 1990s to compete in F1 when the 2006 Grand Prix season begins in March. The new Red Bull-owned Scuderia Toro Rosso – formerly Minardi F1 – has Speed partner ed with Vitantonio Liuzzi for the 2006 Formula 1 championship. Speed was starring in GP2 and A1GP in 2005, and was Red Bull Racing’s third F1 driver at two 2005 grands prix.

At age 17, Speed – already a noted karter – did his first school with Skip Barber Racing, an advanced lapping session at Sebring International Raceway. By 2002 he had entered the Skip Barber National Presented by RACER, a season that also included Colin Fleming, Charlie Kimball, Raphael Matos, Al Unser, Burt Frisselle and Gerardo Bonilla. Speed won two of the year’s 13 races and finished on the podium five additional times — while taking five pole positions.

Speed told the Reuters news agency he’s “…very serious about establishing myself in Formula One as one of the talented guys out there, not as some publicity stunt. I think realistically my personal goal is to become the world champion.” When asked how he felt about becoming the first American since Eddie Cheever in 1989 to race in front of a home crowd — the U.S.G.P. next July – Speed said, “To bring F1 closer to the American public is exciting.”

Michael Andretti, also a Skip Barber grad, raced for McLaren in 1993, while Juan Pablo Montoya, another Skip Barber alum, has been in F1 since 2001.

Scott Speed (c., after one of his Skip Barber National victories) will make F1 history this year with Red Bull’s second F1 team.

Rick Roso

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