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Red Bull scraps young driver programme

NEWS STORY
17/10/2005

In a statement issued on Monday afternoon, the organizers of the Red Bull Driver Search Programme, aimed at promoting American racing talent, is to be wound down.

With Scott Speed due to contest the 2006 Formula One World Championship, with either Red Bull Racing or Squadra Toro Rosso, the Driver Search will not continue to operate in its current format for 2006.

"We will not conduct a formal or organized Search," read the statement, "but Red Bull will continue to monitor upcoming American racing talent. Current Driver Search graduates, Scott Speed, Colin Fleming and John Edwards, will continue to be supported by Red Bull as they pursue their dreams of Formula 1."

In its inaugural year 2002, 13 drivers competed for four seats on the Red Bull Junior Team. Paul Edwards, Scott Speed, Grant Maiman, and Joel Nelson edged out the competition to earn a drive in Europe for the 2003 racing season.

In 2003, the Red Bull Driver Search expanded to the grassroots of motorsports, enabling young aspirants to qualify for selection through a series of nationwide karting qualifiers. After the dust settled on the Finals in Estoril, Colin Fleming, Dominique Claessens and Matt Jaskol were selected, joining Scott Speed as members of the 2004 Red Bull Junior Team.

Additional qualifying centres were added in 2004, further broadening the reach of the Program. John Edwards was selected as the winner, while Speed and Fleming dominated the Formula Renault ranks in Europe during the 2004 racing season.

Speed moved up to GP2 in 2005 and Fleming took on the World Series by Renault. Edwards honed his skills in the Italian Karting Championship and European Formula Renault. Back in the U.S. the Search continued but 2005 proved to be a less fruitful year for the Program. Two drivers from the class of 2005 were selected to travel to the Red Bull Junior Team test in Europe, but neither was successful in earning a seat on the team.

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