DECEMBER 5, 2001
Herta talking to BAR and Arrows
BRYAN HERTA wants to become America's next Formula 1 driver and was recently in England to talk to a variety of F1 teams about a possible job as a test driver. Herta not surprisingly talked to British American Racing and to Arrows. BAR already has a string of test drivers and has less need to make an impression in the US markets as the parent BAT company already has several brands being used in racing in the United States. Arrows, however, is every keen to create an American angle in the years ahead as it is trying to align itself with Red Bull's planned US marketing push and wants to create a "American" team. Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz has confirmed that he is trying to convince General Motors to supply engines although everything has been denied by Tom Walkinshaw.
The problem for Herta is to convince team bosses that having raced full-time on the American scene he has what is necessary to compete in European style racing - a very different world. The drivers from the United States who have tried F1 in recent years have all come out of racing in the States and all have failed to deliver. There is a strong body of thought in F1 circles that the only way Americans are going to break through is to be trained in European racing as are the Brazilians, Australians and, increasingly, the Japanese as well. American racers in Europe are currently struggling to find money to compete despite the fact that some of them clearly have the talent necessary to get them to Formula 1.
Herta says that he wants to aim for a F1 ride in 2003 and is happy to test in 2002. And while one can applaud the gesture, it is hard to see that Herta will be able to convince any F1 team to take him on - unless, of course, it serves their marketing purposes. Arrows is therefore the obvious choice for the future but if the team is not very competitive this year joining the team could be a poisoned chalice for Herta.
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