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Autosport International

AJ retains F1 ambitions

2004 Champ Car Rookie of the Year AJ Allmendinger was one of a glittering line-up of star guests at the Autosport International show on Thursday. Quizzed about whether he has any Formula 1 ambitions, the American reiterated the formula he has stated before: grand prix racing remains his ultimate ambition, but he would not be prepared to stake his career on anything less than a fully competitive seat

AJ retains F1 ambitions

Allmendinger is contracted to the RuSPORT Champ Car team for 2005, but admits he would be tempted by an F1 offer in the future - with the right team.

"Formula 1 has always been an interest, and I still think it's the pinnacle of open-wheel racing," he said. "But one thing I say I will never do is go to Formula 1 just to be in Formula 1.

"That means I have my goals that I want to achieve in Champ Cars, first and foremost to win the championship. If I had the opportunity to go to F1 that would be great, but I would only do that if it was a team that I could come and win with right away.

"The reason I race is that I love to win - more than anything, I hate to lose, actually! If I spent my whole career in Champ Cars for 15 or 20 years and won five or six championships and never made it to F1, that would be okay with me. But at the same time, if Michael Schumacher retires and Ferrari call me, I want to talk about it!"

In the shorter term, Allmendinger's sights are set on mounting a Champ Car title challenge with the up-and-coming RuSPORT squad this year. He begins testing at Sebring on February 4.

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