INSIDE F1 announces Young Driver of the Year

INSIDEF1.COM has announced that 19 year-old Californian Patrick Long is the man most likely to take the United States of America back to the top of the Grand Prix racing world by electing him its 2001╩Young╩Driver Award recipient.

For the Los Angeles racer this auspicious award is the latest in a long line of achievements that include the 1998 North American Kart Championship and both the Skip Barber Rookie of the Year and Pro Series awards in 2000. After spending last season in British Formula Ford Zetec, the world's most prestigious junior racing category, Long returns as pre-season favorite for 2001 with the works Van Diemen outfit.

Long previously teamed up with the Van Diemen works team for the 2000 Winter Formula Ford Zetec Championship, netting two pole positions, podium finishes and a win in the four-round series to set the pace going into the New Year.

"I'm absolutely delighted to be building on my association with INSIDE F1 through the coming season," said Long. "I have a really good feeling about the way we work together, especially since they are there to highlight what I can do in a race car. To have well-connected journalists on your side is something money cannot buy."

Outgoing INSIDE F1 Young Driver Award winner of 2000, 22-year-old Bostonian Josh Rehm, wished Long well and spoke highly of the benefits that the INSIDE F1 backing had given him. INSIDE F1 secured tests for Rehm in Toyota Atlantic and Indy Lights, as well as helping him land a ride in Britain s Formula Palmer Audi Winter Series.

"It's been a great year throughout," said Rehm, Barber Dodge regional champion in 1998 and 99, "because I've had the chance to really get into the F1 world and sit down with giants like Sir Frank Williams, Patrick Head and Eddie Jordan. These are the kind of guys you need career advice from! Not only that but doors opened for me on both sides of the Atlantic."

INSIDE F1's Joe Saward is delighted INSIDE F1 will be helping Long. "It's been 22 years since America last boasted a Grand Prix champion but the day a US driver follows in the footsteps of Jimmy Murphy, Phil Hill and Mario Andretti is getting closer. Patrick may be that man, he displays all the attributes of a world-class driver and we look forward to introducing him to Formula 1."

The Slick 50 Formula Ford Zetec Championship will be running in tandem with the British Formula 3 Championship in 2001 in a new-look Powertour package, forming the single greatest hotbed of young talent in the sport. Graduates from both series include Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna, David Coulthard, Mika Hakkinen and Jenson Button, and INSIDE F1 will be highlighting Patrick Long s progress throughout the coming season.

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