by Craig Llewellyn


After making the headlines in 2007 for all the wrong reasons, Ernesto Viso insists that he wants to be back on track full-time next season.

The Venezuelan is naturally chasing opportunities in Formula One, having made a promising test debut with the Midland team at the 2006 Brazilian Grand Prix, but fears that he will have to look elsewhere for a race seat, even if he manages to get a foot in the door of the top flight.

To that end, Viso made his Champ Car debut with Minardi Team USA at Sebring last month, and includes the series as a potential destination.

"I think F1 is the target for all drivers, for sure it was mine," he told Radio, "I was there in Brazil last year and really liked it, and I think I did a good job. For sure, I am going to keep working hard to be there, and am working [to get] the sponsors here.

"F1 is always my first option but, if it doesn't happen, I want to race and I think Champ Car could be a good decision. The [Minardi] test went very well, and we were very quick even if myself and one other driver were the only ones on track and it was a bit green. I liked the car - it was a bit heavy, but there was a lot of power because of the turbo. It was fun to drive and the times were very quick - the guys were impressed and I was impressed as well. The team did a very good job and, if that's the way we're going to go next year, I think they're a good option for us."

Viso, who suffered a massive accident on his return to the GP2 Series at Magny-Cours in the summer, admits, however, that his F1 ambitions may also force him to look at Europe for his race action, with another GP2 return a strong possibility.

"These days, even if you are a test driver in F1, you still need to race something because they don't do much," he explained, "There is no third driver as there was before, driving on Fridays, so, if I am third driver, I need to race something. In that case, Champ Car may be a bit too far [away], so GP2 could again be the best option."

Despite going into what would be his fourth year of GP2, Viso is unconcerned that he could be typecast as a nearly man, but admits that financial pressures may yet dictate his destination.

"I think GP2 is always a good place to be because you're next to F1 and you're racing at a very high level," he reasoned, "I love to develop cars, and understand them really well, but, because it [GP2 has] a new car, the championship is going to be a bit more expensive and drivers need to bring a bit more money, and that's the difficult thing for me.

"The thing is that, because of my nationality, it is probably easier for me to get sponsors to race in America, but we still have options in GP2 and we're still working and talking to them. There's a door open over there, but sponsors are the biggest reason why we are looking at Champ Car."

With time ticking on, Viso knows that he will have to make some tough decisions before too long, but he remains confident of being on a grid somewhere when the 2008 season kicks off.

"I'm a racing driver and what I love is to race, but I also understand that it is a very difficult sport and that there is a lot of politics involved," he signed, "We, as drivers, depend on money and many other things out of our hands, and, at this point, I think money means a lot. I'm depending on some sponsors to get up [to F1]. This year, everything was looking alright but, at the end, it didn't happen for some other reasons.

"However, we're reacting to the conversations we're having over the 'phone and talking to different people, but it's still too early to know - even if it's late."




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