Wednesday, February 25, 2009

This Will Be Cool, if It Comes to Pass

It's hard being a Formula 1 fan in the United States. It's bad enough that we don't have a race to call our own anymore (we can't even annex Canada!). Add to that a lack an American driver, team, or manufacturer to root for in the series and things look pretty bleak. But there is some hope on the horizon, in the form of USF1, a new team that plans to join the series in 2010:

The founders of a proposed Formula One team from the United States insist they are ready to enter the sport in 2010.

Peter Windsor and Ken Anderson, the duo behind the scheme, have said the cars will be built in North Carolina and driven by American drivers.

They also confirmed they have finance in place and that F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has given them his backing.
No doubt, Windsor and Anderson are big names with a serious pedigree. Windsor, while best known as the pit/paddock/grid reporter for Speed and Fox's F1 broadcasts was once the team manager at Williams. Anderson has a long career as a race engineer in F1 and Champ Car/IndyCar on his resume. I wish them luck.

But I'm also very skeptical:
Despite this USF1 will not be be backed by a manufacturer or wealthy businessman, with Windsor saying they have put together a viable business plan that will work.
Given the aforementioned lack of interest in F1 in the US, where is the money supposed to come from? F1 right now is the province of the factories (Ferrari, Renault, Mercedes, etc.) and the excessively wealthy (Force India and the Red Bulls). There may be another way, but Windsor and Anderson haven't provided any details about how it will work.

Nor does this fill me with confidence:
Anderson has admitted that [IndyCar star Danica] Patrick would be an attractive proposition for USF1 and is keen to see if the 26-year-old would fancy becoming the sixth female F1 driver.

'Danica's great - she gets a lot of press,' he said.
Yup, but that's about all. She has precisely one win to her credit in her automotive career, despite being with one of IndyCar's top teams. And that was on an oval. Fact is, if USF1 wants Americans in its cars, they need to start digging for talent right the hell now. And hope they get lucky.

As I said, I wish Windsor and Anderson luck. It would be great to have a "home team" to root for. But the cynic in me can't help but think 2010 will come and go without any cars on the grid.

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