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OCTOBER 17, 2002

Red Bull Driver Search winners

The Red Bull Driver Search is over with Danny Sullivan and his crew having picked the four young American drivers they think have the best chance of making it to Formula 1 in the future - after a series of tests at Paul Ricard.

The decisions have been something of a surprise with some of the favorites for the prizes having not been chosen. The four winners are Paul Edwards, Grant Maiman, Joel Nelson and Scott Speed.

Edwards is the oldest but also has a lot more European experience than some of his rivals. The 24-year-old Californian driver has been competing in Europe for six years, having started out in British Formula Ford in 1997. He has won races in Formula Ford, Formula Vauxhall, Formula Palmer Audi and in the British F3 Scholarship class but this year has not been racing because of a lack of money. The Red Bull award should enable him to land a decent Formula 3 drive in Britain next year.

Maiman, a 23-year-old from Wisconsin, who comes from a background of Skip Barber National Formula Dodge (he won the title this year) but has no European experience but appears to have impressed the judges with his desire to be successful.

Joel Nelson was one of the men who was expected to do well as the 21-year-old from Reno, Nevada, has been impressive in his racing efforts on both sides of the Atlantic, winning races in Formula Palmer Audi in England and in Formula Russell on the West Coast.

The final winner is 19-year-old Scott Speed from Manteca, California, who has emerged from karting and Formula Russell (he was the 2001 champion). He then moved into Formula Dodge this year and was beaten to the title by Maiman. Speed has already sampled the power of a CART car, having tested a Team Rahal Lola as part of CART "Stars of Tomorrow" program at the end of last year.

Although the choices are somewhat controversial, Danny Sullivan will be hoping that he is right and that one of his charges will become the first American to make it into F1 for almost 10 years. For those who have not been picked the motivation will now be to prove that Sullivan is wrong...