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Herbert confirms Williams rejection as sights are set on US

JOHNNY HERBERT has confirmed that he has turned down a test-driver role at BMW-Williams in preference of leaving Formula One and moving to the Champ Car series in America.

Herbert, who will compete in his last Grand Prix in Malaysia with Jaguar on Sunday, said that BMW-Williams team boss Frank Williams had approached him about being a tester for the team, but he felt it would be a step backwards.

Reports in the British media suggested that Herbert turned down 500,000 (pounds) a-year to test for BMW-Williams because he has set his sights on competing in the Champ Car series and the prestigious Indianapolis 500 endurance race next season.

"Frank had a little chat with me about a test," said Herbert. "I don't think it is something that I really want to do. I know it would be helping the team, but it wouldn't be something for me to aim at.

"Also the way, that Formula One is, even if I did very well at Williams, and blew both drivers away, I don't think I'd end up at Ferrari or McLaren anyway. I don't see what it would give me, not satisfaction.

"I think that I can go to Champ Cars and Indy 500, which is one of the races that I have always wanted to do when I was younger, and be competitive.

"It would be nice winning those and looking back and saying well I have won Le Mans, had a good career in F1 and won Champ Cars and the Indy 500. Then I would have achieved probably two of my goals. Two out of three is not bad."

Herbert, who is in his 12th season in Formula One and has competed in 160 Grands Prix - winning three (British and Italian in 1995 and European in 1999) - said he will continue talks with Champ Car teams next week as he prepares to move his family from their Monaco home back to England.

He added: "I will talk to some people on Tuesday when I get back to England. I will probably go out to Fontana as well. I will only do Champ Cars if I get a good seat. I am 95 per cent certain that I will go though.

"It will be hard on the family, with the children at school and everything. My wife will probably come out once, twice a month. The girls are used to me being away."

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