Ressler looks to promote American talent

Jaguar Racing chairman Neil Ressler says that if an American driver wants to make it in F1, then he needs to race in Europe

Ressler looks to promote American talent

The United States is an important market for Jaguar, and an American driver would be a great PR coup. However, with no obvious candidates Jaguar's F1 line-up is Britain's Eddie Irvine and Brazilian Luciano Burti for 2001.

"I'd like to see an American driver make it in the big time," said Ressler. "But I think in the foreseeable future it will require that that American driver goes and competes in Europe. Those are the venues that produce World Champion drivers.

"Having said that, we're not going to choose our drivers on the basis of their nationality. We're going to choose our drivers on the basis of who's most likely to win. If along the way an American comes along and is the best, we would choose that person."

Jaguar's programme for 2001 includes the British Formula 3 Championship, where the highly successful Stewart Racing team will race as Jaguar Racing. Ressler sees this as an important grooming ground for Jaguar.

"The Jaguar F3 team operates out of the same building, and we view that as what Jackie Stewart used to describe as a "Staircase of Talent". In this case it is just two stairs, but Formula 3 has proven to be a good point of entry to Formula 1," Ressler continued.

"People are not going to F3000. Take Jenson Button as an example. He came straightaway from F3 to F1. And as we develop, our Formula 3 programme further, we'll give Americans - maybe even this year - a crack at it, to see whether they can get started."

"American drivers need to come to Europe, like the Brazilians do. Lots of Brazilians race in Europe, lots of Brazilians are in CART racing, lots of Brazilians are in Formula 1. The reason is: they are coming to Europe, competing in the lower formulas, advancing, and the best ones rise to the top. That's how Americans can suceeed too."

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