SEPTEMBER 12, 2006
Jani going to America
Christian Klien's decision not to accept the offer of a Red Bull-sponsored Champ Car drive in 2007 with Kevin Kalhoven's PKV Racing has opened the way for Scuderia Toro Rosso test driver Neel Jani to head off to America, where he hopes he will finally get his name in lights and use success in America to return one day to F1. Jani is 22 years of age and has been racing since 1998 when he began kart racing in Switzerland. He switched to cars in 2001, driving in Formula Renault for the 2001 and 2002 seasons before moving up to the Formula Renault V6 Eurocup with Jenzer Motorsport in 2003. He switched to DAMS in 2004 and then moved on up to GP2, joining the Red Bull-sponsored Racing Engineering. For a period he was a Sauber test driver - the team keen to have its links with a rising Swiss star - but when Sauber was sold, he moved on to become test driver with Scuderia Toro Rosso. During the winter months he raced for Team Switzerland in the A1GP Series and won in Dubai, his consistent scoring also helping Switzerland to second place in the series.
The switch to PKV is yet to be confirmed but the team has had a poor year with Oriol Servia and Katherine Legge. Plans to run a third car for team partner Jimmy Vasser never took off.
The decision to go to the US is an interesting one for Jani but as Red Bull has a glut of drivers in F1 at the moment with David Coulthard, Mark Webber, Tonio Liuzzi and Scott Speed all expected to race next year. Robert Doornbos being given a try-out now that Klien has departed, a situation where testing may be reduced considerbly in the future and on the horizon the spectre of Sebastian Vettel coming under Red Bull control in 2009. Jani may have concluded that racing in America is his best hope for longterm success.
|Print News Story|