Kurt Busch excited by Gene Haas’ F1 project

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Kurt Busch has said that Gene Haas is determined to get his Formula 1 team on the grid in 2015, and although he feels that he is too old to race, he would certainly be up for a test drive.

The FIA confirmed on Friday that Haas had been given the green light to put together a team for 2015, setting the wheels in motion for an American outfit to join the grid. A technical partnership with Ferrari is thought to be on the table, and the likes of Alexander Rossi and Conor Daly have already been linked with a seat.

Busch – who drives the #41 for Stewart-Haas Racing in NASCAR – was really enthusiastic about the possibility of an American team joining the grid.

“It will be an incredible challenge. He knows that,” Busch told the Associated Press. “He’s serious. You just don’t drop $40 million on a wind tunnel and not think that you’re serious about racing.

“It’s a matter of the fans getting behind it, supporting Gene and trying to give F1 another chance,” he said. “We’ve had Michael Andretti, before him was his dad. We had Scott Speed as a driver. Now we have an owner. It will be interesting to see how the driver line-up shapes up.”

At 35, Busch feels that he is too old to race for the team, but he would not say no to a test outing.

“My time has passed to be a competitive driver in F1,” he said. “But a test session? I’d jump on that every time. They’re going to have hard time keeping me out of the shop, from hanging out.”

Following the announcement, there has been a mix of delight and skepticism from the Formula 1 world. However, with a racing team and automotive company behind the American bid this time around, Haas’ project appears to have far more going for it than USF1 did back in 2009.

Predictably, a number of other NASCAR and IndyCar drivers will be linked to the seats with Haas in Formula 1, but should he be looking for American drivers that are already on the sport’s ladder, both Rossi and Daly would be good picks. However, they might need to be complemented by a more experienced Formula 1 driver given that neither has started a grand prix yet.

Daniel Ricciardo to decide soon about moving from Red Bull to another F1 team

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LE CASTELLET, France (AP) Daniel Ricciardo says over the next six weeks he wants to decide between staying at Red Bull or joining another Formula One team for next year.

Ricciardo said on Thursday at the French Grand Prix, “It would be nice to go on the summer break knowing what I am doing.”

F1 is working its way toward its three-week break in August with speculation mounting that Mercedes, Ferrari, and McLaren are interested in luring Ricciardo away from Red Bull for 2019.

“I will be honest, everyone is talking about Mercedes and Ferrari as potential places for me to go, and I am aware that there will be interest from other teams,” he said.

The Australian driver has won seven races in his four-plus seasons with Red Bull. He is fourth in the standings behind leader Sebastian Vettel heading into the race at the Paul Ricard Circuit near Marseille.

Ricciardo’s stock has risen in recent months after his victories in Shanghai and Monaco. His Monaco win was particularly impressive because Ricciardo had to deploy some masterful defensive driving to protect his lead after losing an estimated 25 percent of his engine power.

Ricciardo said he had not directly spoken to rivals Ferrari and Mercedes, but he hedged when asked if his manager had.

“People talk, have coffees, I will leave that one open-ended,” he said with a laugh.

Ricciardo called the decision on whether to go or stay with Red Bull the biggest choice of his career following his decision to leave his native Australia and continue his racing career in Europe over a decade ago.

“For sure the priority is to get a car to win the world title because I really believe I can,” he said. “I am slightly careful because it is easy to think the grass is greener and maybe it is, but I also have it pretty good where I am.

“People do like a change but just to make change for the sake of making a change is not enough for me. I need to find some substance behind it to jump ship.”

Red Bull announced recently it would be ending its 12-year partnership with engine-maker Renault and switching to Honda motors for next year.

Ricciardo was hesitant to endorse or criticize the change, saying he was going to “try to keep putting the pieces together if it is a good move.”

But with the question of the engine manufacturer out of the way, Ricciardo said Red Bull would likely be looking to resolve its drivers’ lineup for next year.

“I haven’t been pushed yet, but I would say that there will be some movement in the next week,” he said. “Whether that is something that gets put down on paper (or not), for sure the discussions will start to ramp up in the next few days.”