Young guns aim at F1

As the Formula 1 driver line-ups for 2001 begin to firm up, Bruno Junqueira, Fernando Alonso and Takuma Sato are three up-and-coming youngsters on the verge of breaking into motorsport's premier category

Young guns aim at F1

Junqueira clinched the FIA F3000 International title last Saturday at Spa-Francorchamps and is now torn between pursuing an F1 ride and heading across the Atlantic to the Champ Car series. The 23-year-old Brazilian already has several firm offers of a race seat.

Chip Ganassi Racing is at the head of the queue for his services, wanting Bruno as a replacement for Juan Pablo Montoya who is expected to be confirmed as Jenson Button's replacement at Williams in the near future.

Bruno told Autosport: "Winning the title has given me the chance to challenge for a drive in either series. I have spoken to Ganassi, certainly, and it's a very interesting option, but I haven't signed anything yet."

Fernando Alonso, the 19-year-old Spaniard who won the final F3000 round at Spa-Francorchamps, is being linked with one of the two rides still up for grabs at the Minardi Team.

He has already tested for the Italian team and is backed by its sponsor, Telefonica. The Spanish telecommunications company is said to be considering inserting him in the team in place of compatriot Marc Gene.

Japanese driver Takuma Sato is also moving into the frame. A frontrunner in the British Formula 3 Championship, he is looking to land an F1 testing deal for 2001. A guest of Honda at the Belgian GP, Sato has been linked with testing roles at both BAR and Jordan.

However, Toranosuke Takagi is thought more likely to claim the BAR testing berth as he has two years of F1 racing experience, as well as the Formula Nippon title that he clinched this year after stepping down from F1 at the end of 1999.

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