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Hunter-Reay still targeting F1

Champ Car race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay has ruled out a switch to the inaugural GP2 series this year after reiterating his determination to get into Formula 1

Hunter-Reay still targeting F1

Speaking on stage at the Autosport International Racing Car Show on Friday, the American 24-year-old confirmed that he intends to stay in Champ Cars in 2005, although admitted that he has yet to conclude a deal with a team.

"The only reason I would do GP2 is to learn the tracks for F1," he said. "I would see it as a step backwards from Champ Cars. I have great business opportunities with Champ Car. I've been coming up through that ladder and they have supported my career a lot. I wouldn't get that over here in Europe.

"But nevertheless my whole goal is to get to Formula 1, and right now for me, Champ Cars is the best way to get there."

Hunter-Reay, who recently signed to CSS Steller management which is also responsible for Juan Pablo Montoya's career, endured a difficult season with Herdez in 2004 and admits he needs more from this year.

"It wasn't a good year," he said. "We should have had quite a few podiums last year, I got knocked off at Toronto when I should have finished third. That's how the season was, it was bunch of sixth, seventh and eighth places, which was horrible. We had that one great race where we won in Milwaukee, which showed that when we could get the set-up right, we could nail it."

Although he would not be drawn on the team's identity, Hunter-Reay believes he is close to a deal with a new team for 2005.

"It will be a bit of a step up but I'd say it's probably right on the same platform as the team as I was with before," he said. "The reason why I say that is that Newman/Haas Racing is the team that is really the big step up. I'm trying to make that intermediate step between them and where I was last year.

"If I drive for a team that is unproven then it is not a whole lot of pressure, but either way there is no reason why you shouldn't be able to win a race this season. Being that it is a level playing field like it is. Obviously Newman Haas has an upper hand over everybody else and Ru-Sports have done a lot and I have to compete with those guys."

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