It’s been great to see some promising young American open-wheel talent emerge over the last few years. Alex Rossi, 18, won the 2008 Formula BMW Americas title and the BMW World Final, and was the top Formula Masters rookie in the past season. Josef Newgarden, 18, (right) finished a fighting second in the 2009 British Formula Ford series, winning nine races, while Team USA candidate Connor De Phillippi, aged 16, scored a surprise win in the Walter Hayes Formula Ford spectacular at Silverstone in November. De Phillippi’s Team USA team-mate Brett Smrz, 18, also ran well.
Other young Americans to watch include Indy Lights champion J R Hildebrand, 21, and John Edwards, 18, and Jonathan Summerton, 21, team-mates at Newman/Wachs Racing who finished one-two in the 2009 US Atlantic championship.
Edwards won the Red Bull American Driver Search in 2004 and went to Europe to race karts, then Formula Renault in 2005 and 2006. At just 14, Edwards became the youngest driver to hold an FIA licence. In 2008 he raced in America’s Star Mazda series, taking five race victories and the title, which paid for his ride with Newman/Wachs in Atlantic. Edwards is likely to race an Indycar for Dale Coyne’s team in 2010.
Summerton raced Formula BMW in Europe in 2003 and the F3 Euroseries in ‘04 and won an A1GP race in 2007. It’s said that Summerton will be a test driver for the USF1 team in 2010.