USF1 team announcement UPDATE #2 Video Highlights
Drivers: None yet
Sponsors: None yet
Engines: None. Sending out proposals to manufacturers, not limited to US builders
Financing: 90% in place, looking for more investors
Why Charlotte: Lots of facilities with testing and manufacturing equipment, lots of real estate (closed down race shops) to choose from, lots of out of work motorsports employees.
Why the U.S.? The recession has actually helped this team get off the ground. The weaker US dollar makes the cost of operations far less in the US than in Europe. Many manufacturers who supply F1 teams with parts are US based, making shipping cheaper and faster. The weak real estate market makes the cost of living and operating easier, plus many communities are offering tax incentives to lure new business. With many NASCAR and IRL teams cutting back, there's more suppliers looking for new customers (also offering incentives).
Logistics: Not as complex as one might think. Team will maintain a European base in Spain to store their haulers and pit equipment for races on the continent. To transport their cars to the venues, team will utilize transportation services already offered by F1 free of charge to teams.
The team mentioned that by using the air cargo services offered by F1, their cars might make it back to the shop in Charlotte before the European-based teams can drive their haulers back to their shops.
"The car's going to made in America, the team's going to be based in America, and once we'd established that it was pretty logical to have American drivers," Windsor told US broadcaster Speed TV.
"The interesting thing is that if we're going to be running an American, except Scott Speed, we'll be running a driver that has no experience.
"Once we've established that, it's a very broad spectrum of drivers that we can be talking to."
Last week IndyCar race winner Danica Patrick said she was 'flattered' by reports linking her to USF1, although she hadn't yet been in contact with the team, and Windsor confirmed that she could be a candidate.
"It's nice to know she's flattered - we're flattered that she's flattered," he said.
"She's definitely on the list - all American drivers that have got the credentials, and she certainly has, are.
"To me she's definitely got road dust on her and she's a person that we should be looking at, but we're looking at everybody.
"Danica is fabulous."
He also cited former Champ Car title contender AJ Allmendinger, another NASCAR convert, as an example of an American with USF1 potential.
"From what I can see, AJ is very, very good in the wet, he's a hard trier, he's a racer, I think he's exactly the sort of guy," said Windsor.
But Windsor didn't rule out signing a non-American driver for USF1's maiden season.
"There is a slight possibility that we might run one experienced driver, therefore by definition not American, in year one, maybe," he said.
"We haven't actually addressed that issue in its entirety."
Windsor admitted that USF1 would have to accept a non-US engine supplier, but believes the American connection will be attractive to the manufacturers already in F1.
"As much as it would be great to have one of the top three (car companies) from Detroit, no (it won't happen)," he said.
"In fact, the Formula 1 regulations won't even allow that anyway because the engine is now frozen, the regulations are frozen, you've got to run an engine from one of the existing Formula 1 suppliers, and we all know who those are.
"It's just a question of doing a deal with one of those companies.
"Let's not forget that America is the biggest market for virtually every car company in Formula 1, so I think there's going to be some interest in USF1."
Former Williams team manager Windsor revealed that an additional investor had already bought a small stake in USF1, and that the team now had sufficient capital to become a reality.
"We've set some unbelievably steep hills to climb in the recession, we just wanted to sell off a small part of the team, and I'm pleased to say that we've done that and we're now two guys that can say we're going to do a Formula 1 team - because we've got the capital to do it," he said.
"For those out there who say 'where's all the money, where's the huge facility, where's all the money falling out of the sky?' - that isn't ever going to happen with USF1," he said.
"We've always had a very different approach and that approach will become visible as time goes on and this year unfolds."
He believes his new team can break the mould in F1.
"Both of us grew up with a passion for Formula 1 and even names like Masten Gregory, Richie Ginther, Peter Revson and what they achieved, apart from the great names like Dan (Gurney), Mario (Andretti) and Phil Hill," said Windsor.
"That's what it's all about.
"If you look at the way it's gone in the recent past, you've needed to either find an incredible rich trillionaire and have him own the team and dominate the team, or you are lucky enough to be invited by a large car company to set up their Formula 1 operation for them.
"Ken and I have been around long enough not to want to do either of those two things.
"We always wanted to do our own team, our way.
"It sounds very arrogant perhaps, but we have got some history, we've got some things that we want to bring into the sport that we think we can do well."
"Most of the technology in Formula 1 comes from the United States to begin with," he said.
"As of next year less than half the races will be on the (European) continent, so there are less races there.
"The cost of doing business in the United States is significantly cheaper than Europe, and there are a lot of good people here.
"Whether you're going to Australia from here or England is kind of a moot point." Pete McCole reporting from SPEED offices in Charlotte02/24/09 More highlights - Team is 90% financed. Will have European base in Spain. Car will be designed in USA. Cost reductions in F1 combined with recession have made it possible to form USF1 team at this time. Team has been planned for quite some time and will be done like the secret USA military Skunkworks groups - a small team of the very best people that runs lean but very mean.
02/24/09 The USF1 team is holding their first official press conference today at SPEED headquarters in Charlotte. Our man on the ground, Pete McCole, reports the key highlights so far are that no engines have been selected, no drivers have been selected and they still have not set up a shop, but funding for the team is in place. More to follow.....