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USF1 team announces 2010 plans

by Pete McCole
Tuesday, February 24, 2009

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Ken Anderson
Rhonda McCole/AR1.com
Looking to bring America back into prominence in Formula One, the new USF1 team announced their plans to field an entry in the 2010, with the team based out of the heart of stock car country in Charlotte, N.C.

Team principal Ken Anderson, a former team engineer for the Williams F1 team and developer of the Windshear wind tunnel in Concord, N.C., announced his plans alongside former F1 team manager and SPEED TV commentator Peter Windsor, who will serve as sporting director for the new racing venture.

The team plans to use American technology and hire American engineers and drivers to compete in a series that currently has no American drivers and no American races.

“When we realized that the technology was here and with the help of the new FIA regulations, that were made for new teams to come into the sport, we therefore could do a team here in the United States and it was going to be a car made in America,” said Windsor. “The logical thing then from a marketing perspective was then to see if we can have two American drivers. And that is indeed what we intend to do.

“We are not trying to take Formula One to the United States and convert millions of fans to Formula One. We hope that will happen on the back of USF1 and we sincerely hope that having a US Grand Prix here again will be a byproduct of that … nothing would be better for us and nothing would be better for American motor sports.”

The new team hopes to buck the trend of multi-million dollar teams owned by “a rich trillionaire” by going with a more-is-less approach, selling off part of the team to investors to help fund their operations.

“We’ve always wanted to do our own team our own way,” said Windsor. “It sounds rather arrogant perhaps, but we have some experience and we have some things we want to bring into the sport. But the key to that was not selling anything more than a very small stake in the team.

Ken Anderson and Peter Windsor
Rhonda McCole/AR1.com
“So, we set some unbelievably steep hills to climb in the recession. We wanted to sell off a small part of the team, and I am pleased to be able to sit up here now and say we’ve done that and now we are two guys who can say we are going to do a Formula One team because we have the capital to do it.”

Considering the current state of the world economy, it might seem an unlikely time for anyone to try to put together funding for such a motorsports venture, but as Anderson pointed out, it is the very recession the country now faces that allowed the team to come to fruition.

“The fact that we are in a recession means people actually listen to us now and take us seriously because it all adds up,” said Anderson. “Forget the $48 million bond days, forget the $100 million budgets, forget the $30 million retainers for drivers. Over the next three or four years, things are going to change dramatically in Formula One and that’s our period.”

The team also benefited from several rules changes coming to F1, particularly aimed at cutting costs for the teams, and has gotten the full backing of Formula One Management president Bernie Ecclestone

“I first told Bernie Ecclestone about this in Brazil ’06, and he was his usual specific self and said, ‘Great, get it done.’ We’ve kept him in touch ever since and he’s always been very supportive and anything we need, he’s tried to help us with,” said Windsor. “The FIA equally have known about this in detail now for about five to six months and instantly grasped the program and accepted the program as we wanted to do it as, dare I say it, the poster child of how a Formula One team should be going into the next generation facing a recession and the rule changes. How we are approaching it – the lean, mean skunkworks approach – is exactly the sort of thing the FIA are looking for, so they say, for the future.”

Although the choice to base an F1 team in Charlotte might seem odd, Anderson said the amount of testing facilities and technology in the area specifically geared toward motorsports made it an ideal choice, while the cost of doing business in the U.S. is considerably cheaper than operating overseas.

“Most of the technology in Formula One comes from the United States to begin with,” said Anderson. “The logistics side of it now, less than half the races will be on the (European) continent. The cost of doing business in the United States is significantly cheaper than Europe and there are a lot of good people here.

“Racing is a $6 billion industry in North Carolina. And probably within 50 miles of Charlotte, it’s all there. There are some brilliant people here and some great equipment. A shaker rig doesn’t know if it has a Cup car on it or a Formula One car on it. A wind tunnel doesn’t know … the benefit of that is that we have more equipment and more talented people in this area than anywhere on the planet.

“There are a lot of suppliers to Formula One that are here. McLaren Electronics has a facility in Mooresville. Günther Steiner, the technical director at Red Bull and Jaguar, we meet at a coffee shop in Davidson. There are a lot more people here than people realize.

The team currently has no shop location, no engine manufacturer, and, currently, no drivers. Some of the names Anderson and Windsor mentioned as possibilities included open-wheeled drivers Marco Andretti and Graham Rahal, along with former F1 driver Scott Speed and current NASCAR hot shot Kyle Busch.

“The two people we have in the car in 2010 will be relatively inexperienced without a lot of road dust on them, but at the same time, we are going to stick to that,” said Windsor. “We are a young team. Nothing wrong with having young drivers growing at the same pace.

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