More details on USF1 emerge

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Autoblog claims to have more information about putative American F1 team USF1:

The USF1’s mission is to stand apart from the other 11 teams by hyping U.S. technology under the tagline of “Made in America.” The vehicle will be designed and built in the States and piloted by a duo of American drivers.

The main operational center would be based in Charlotte, NC, where several associated companies and research universities could help develop the racecar. In Europe, USF1 will work out of the newly erected Epsilon motorsports facility located outside of Bilbao, Spain.

When F1 teams and the sport’s leaders are locked in a dispute over costs and car sales in America are plunging, it’s difficult to take the claims of a new, US-based F1 team seriously. But F1 badly needs more teams and a presence in America, so I hope this comes to pass.

Read the full Autoblog article here

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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53 comments on “More details on USF1 emerge”

  1. It’s turning into A1GP

    1. when I read it, I thought exactly that – well said

    2. You do have a point, and it would not suprise me to see wealthy parties from China, Russia, Dubai, and elsewhere start up similar operations.

      On another note, I remember reading that the A1GP people wanted to set up their own F1 team recently, in order to reward the championship drivers in their own series with a chance to drive in F1. I remember them saying that costs put them off, but I doubt Bernie would ever let such a team see the light of day anyway.

  2. Apparently Peter Windsor is involved. I want it to be true to get him out of F1 Racing magazine.

  3. Sounds great!

    Only that it has to be 2american drivers :)
    I hate when it has to be from their country.
    You need the best you can get! :)

  4. Hmmm. Where is the press conference? Where are the public statements?

    I really, really, really hope this is true, but I hate having expectations dashed. Scott Speed was such a bitter pill to swallow for those of us who want Americans in F1. After that experience I’m a bit gun-shy.

    1. DC,

      Trust me, there are many other alternatives from here in the States who are much better suited to the F1 spotlight. I interviewed Jonathan Summerton for a guest article back in November, and he was honestly one of nicest people I’ve ever dealt with in several years of writing for various outlets. Speed’s case was a bad one, but I am sure we can say the same thing about many other drivers in the sport’s history from around the world.

  5. I wonder which drivers USF1 would go for. I find it hard to believe it’s either Marco Andretti or Danica Patrick, because then surely they go under the Andretti-Green banner.

    Scott Speed is history, there’s Jonathan Summerton in A1GP, Charlie Kimball and a certain Jake Rosenzweig in F3 Euroseries, but that’s it, isn’t it?

    Or perhaps Richard Antinucci; wasn’t he in the Red Bull driver scheme? And didn’t he race in Italian and European F3?

  6. Are you sure this isn’t the NASCAR boys out to prove all the cynics wrong? As for Drivers, they have all the IRL guys and girls to choose from, as well as anyone man enough to leave NASCAR……
    I think this is a good way to get Americans back into F1, and to make Bernie and Max aware that there is a market ready to be tapped again, as well as get an F1 circuit or two in the States again…..
    Good luck to them, I say, and why should they buy a de-motivated ex-Honda when they can get fresh ideas and fresh drivers from around the block……?

  7. If this is serious, they should think about Graham Rahal. A known name and one of the very few american drivers that looks better at a road course than an oval.

  8. It’s hard to take any of this seriously. First of all, who in their right mind would invest in such an insecure venture? Anyone who is smart enough that they still have money right now would be smart enough to hold on to it and not flush it down this red white and blue toilet. It couldn’t possibly work. There is not F1 DNA there.

    Also, if there was an American driver good enough to race in F1, they would be on the radar. And they would be driving for Red Bull.

    1. I can see the part about hanging into your money in times like this, but no Formula 1 DNA? Aside from Hill and Andretti, don’t forget that the recently-deceased Teddy Mayer was not just from America, but from the same hometown as the bum typing this now ;)

      I was just breaking into the sport when Force India came online, and I don’t remember anyone doubting them, so why woulden’t something similar work here? And in Force India’s case, they could put two Indian drivers in the car right now, but Vijay refuses to employ them.

    2. This wouldn’t be the first patriotic American team either, Dan Gurney’s Anglo American Racing Eagle team in the 60’s were predominantly American from memory. And as Gman pointed out, Mario Andretti and Phil Hill both world champions from the US and obviously Dan Gurney himself. Theres plenty of F1 heritage in the US.

  9. Its funny, I thought it was great when Aguri Suzuki was determined to enter with two Japanese drivers – it gave the team a real identity and I loved the spirit of what he was trying to achieve. Now the Americans want to enter in the same way and people think its a bad idea.

    There’s nothing wrong with national pride and if this team does come to fruition with two Stateside drivers, all power to them. F1 needs to sort out its on-off its relationship with the USA once and for all and this could be just the ticket. :)

    1. Spot on, Peter!

  10. Bold move by USF1. I’ll be watching with interest…

  11. As an American I would love to see this come to pass. I have been on the fence on watching F1 anymore. It would be nice to see America in F1 with a team and drivers. But untill I see something set in stone I am taking this with a grain of salt. I have a young American Driver in mind for this team. Alexander Rossi.

    1. Same here on everything, but Rossi appears to be a few years away at least. He’s off to as good of a start as he can from what i’ve seen, but it will just take a bit more seasoning.

  12. I suppose it answers the question regarding the cost cutting measures then – Who will come in to F1 when it becomes too expensive for manufacturers? countries of course! USF1/ Force India – what next – Scuderia Italia? F1UK?

    1. Scuderia Italia was a team, they entered F1 in 1988 using Dallara-built cars, lasted a couple of seasons.

  13. USF1 would be based in Europe at the Epsilon center close to Bilbao – that place is run by Joan Viladeprat, ex chief mechanic of Ferrari, McLaren and others – he could be a good help to set up the car.
    It sure rains a lot in that area though

    1. Close to a lot of testing tracks though if they’re in Spain, surely?

    2. The Bilbao area is actually not that close to the main tracks such as the Cataluña one, although they mention the construction of a new one nearby.
      Epsilon is a high-tech company with a person in charge, Villadelprat, who has an impressive F1 background.

    3. One place that the European base of USF1 would be close to is the hometown of Alonso in Oviedo. About 2 hours drive – maybe less in an 8.000 cc big block American V8

  14. Max Mosley’s given a little bit more away about the team:

    Mosley admitted the governing body had been approached by the American group looking to enter Formula One as USF1.

    The FIA boss said the team are to be taken seriously.

    “Yes, they have,” Mosley said when asked if the team had approached the FIA. “They are serious people but they are the same as everyone else, they need the costs to come down if they are to be competitive.

    “They are recommended by Nick Craw, our man in the States who knows a lot of people. You have to take it seriously.”

  15. Yeah, it does sound like A1GP; though it also sounds like ChampCar who had a “Team Australia,” I guess “Team America” is no different.

    The North Carolina ties are not a surprise and actually make me feel quite sad. The state-of-the-art hotbed of racing is now there instead of Indianapolis, where it should be.

    I must admit, I support any move that takes Peter Windsor out of journalism.

    Keith’s support of US involvement in F1 is flattering and occasionally feels a bit strange. I’m reminded of the English teen that was flown to the US because he admitted to liking MLS better than English football…

  16. Gman, I wasn’t suggesting that America has no F1 DNA, although that point could be argued. Force India’s DNA can be traced to Jordan, which is pretty good as far as pedigree is concerned.

    No, what I’m saying is that it sounds like too far a hill to climb, and ambition beyond the possible. You can’t claim that birthing an F1 team in the States, basing it in Spain and limiting yourself to drivers from one country only (and one that hasn’t produced a very long list of successful F1 drivers) and competing for the championship within two years makes any kind of sense in the real world of the “piranha club.” The cons vastly outweigh the pros. I would love to see it happen, but it really doesn’t sound realistic.

    Now we’ve got Spanky saying that the group is serious, but they can only do it if costs are brought down, which leads me to think that this is all just a ploy in Max’s bid for re-election.

    1. Arnet,

      Completely understood- while I am proud of what a number of American have accomplished in F1, I understand that the history of the sport here is not the same as in many other nations. I also agree that limiting the scope to just American drivers isn’t perhaps the best thing to do- while it would be good for at least one driver to be American, an experienced foreign driver would be good to start out with- I’d like to see Anthony Davidson get a shot in that case.

      However, I disagree with your argument about location. What difference dose it make where the cars are designed and built? During the season, the team would still need to fly to several GPs- as long as the costs are covered, what differnece dose it make leaving from a different side of the Atlantic? With the base in Spain, they can perhaps drive to seevral GPs in Europe, and obviously to any future GPs in North America.

      You’ve got a point about Jordan being a good starting point. But I also remind you that Vijay inherited some people in that DNA that he obviously diden’t agree with, and now that’s coming back to him in court. At least with a fresh slate, these guys won’t need to worry about that.

  17. Gman, yes I remember your excellent interview with Jonathan Summerton. He really would be a good one. But I think he needs a big personal sponsor with deep pockets right now. Let’s hope one steps up.

    It’s funny about trying to make “national” teams. I’ve mentioned before that I used to live in Indianapolis. Many of the engineers and managers from the American IRL and Champ Car teams lived in a specific area and they all shopped at one big grocery store. Let’s just say that it was quite common to hear British accents in that store! ;)

    Indy Car teams are hardly “American” and I doubt if any profesional race team in any international formula could really be dominated by any one nationality. But such a label must be really good for marketing. Even publicly-funded national marketing organisations could be interested in sponsoring such ventures.

  18. Well, Gman, I would point to Michael Andretti’s attempt at living in the States and flying to races as perhaps not the best approach. Perhaps he should have bought a condo in Spain?

    Most people would argue that being in England is a prerequisite-Ferrari excepted-to finding success in F1. After all, being headquartered in Cologne hasn’t seemed to bring Toyota any closer to a championship. But of course Honda shatters that argument…..

    Unless USF1 can poach some serious European F1 management, design and driving talent, they are just phoning it in. The rules, culture and attitudes are completely different in F1 than any other racing series. Actually, they could do a lot worse than hiring Gascoyne. As you point out, Malya may not have agreed with Mike, but that doesn’t make him right, it just makes him the boss. In my book, Mr. G is responsible for both Championship winning Renaults.

    1. For as talented a debater as you are, Arnet, you really can’t be using the based in England theroy as a serious argument, can you? What difference dose it make if the cars are built 30 miles or 3,00 miles away from the circuits? The Charlotte area is blossoming in both motor sports and other pro sports- it’s a s good of a place as any for a team in my book.

      I did not mean to say that Gascoyne was a bad guy, but rather that takeovers of existing outfits rarely go as smoothly as planned, and that’s one good thing working for the USF1 people. After all, dose anyone else think that dealing with Nick Fry may be a major downside for any of the potential buyers of Honda?

      As for Andretti, absoultely he should have based himself in Europe for the season, and hsi son did his own career no good by shooting his mouth off about his dad’s McLaren adventure last year. But Americans have had some success on the grid, and many other ones have been key behind the scenes- the now-deceased Teddy Mayer being a key example. Also, in spite of some poor races, don’t forget that there have been some very good USGP events put on in the history of F1, and that some of the best drivers in the sport won many of those races.

  19. Does anybody know how precisely transportation of team’s cargo works? I know FOM pays those costs for all teams that score in previous season but do they make only one charter flight? For example it is free to fly equipment to Australia but you have to bring it to Heathrow. That is a down-side of being stationed in USA, that and labour-pool. Most teams are situated in Oxfordshire and families of f1 personell don’t have to move when they switch teams. Before Brawn/Schumacher era even Ferrari had an engine department stationed in UK. There are deffinetly benefits of being stationed in british motosport valley, only Ferrari, BMW and Toyota aren’t doing it. Well, Torro Rosso is in Faenza but their development is done by Red Bull which is in UK so for this argument we can ignore them…

  20. I think I got it…. Usually teams which are more successful tend to have more fans, but including this “nationalist” factor in F1 helps get more fans even after being dead last on the grid.

    So going nationalist must be a shortcut to popularity of the team.

    Besides people like to side his/her country than any lame sponsor/constructor.

    The reason behind keeping 2 American divers and car developed freshly in USA is that they hardly care about winning or loosing, all they care is making team fully American.

  21. Yes, I think USF1 have seen where Force India started from, and are making the next logical step by creating the car from scratch (as far as we know – Keith do you think they might use a Lola or another chassis maker with previous F1 experience?)
    If we don’t have new teams appearing from time to time in F1, then all we will see is the same responses to the same old problems. Don’t you think it really sad that the only ‘normal’ way to afford to race as a new team is to buy up whats left of an older one?
    The point that Max has made that they are also waiting for the costs to come down is significant – FOTA need to get them on side and asking about SuperLicence costs and FOM entry fees too….

  22. Do not forget Pete Aron! No wait…….

  23. Just to be up front, Gman, I’m not British, I’m Canadian, so I’m coming from the perspective of the way things work because they have been done that way for so long-meaning the regional argument. Having said that, you’d be hard pressed to find any arena that pushes the envelope in R&D harder than F1. All that takes is the right people and buckets of money.

    I’m just looking at the whole venture and comparing what is claimed (“If USF1 succeeds, it hopes to be running in the middle of the pack during the 2010 season and working its way up to the podium within two years”) and what is proven cough-BAR-cough.

    I really want to see some fresh blood in the sort and I wish everyone well, just colour me skeptical. It is hard for anyone, let alone a team with 3 bases.

    1. Arnet,

      Indeed there is tremedous potential for motorsport design in the areas you speak of in the UK, and similar genius exists in the area where USF1 intends to set up. Your own nation posesses some tremendous design genius- as proof, just look up the CF-105 Arrow- perhaps the greatest military aircraft never to see the light of day.

      On the timeline epxecations, you and I obviously know that such a goal is lofty at best, and would be very difficult to accoplish. The USF1 people also know this, but would they really tell the blunt truth to their potential sponsors and backers? Don’t forget that Vijay wants Force India on the podium by 2010, and that gose right along with the same line of thinking.

      Again, good debate- let’s see how it all shapes up :)

  24. Ah, you bring an Arrow shaped tear to my eye…..

    1. Indeed, the Arrow project reminded me a bit of this venture because it was Canadian designed and built- a technological marvel that had the American and British aerospace companies in awe. It was also something that created thousands of jobs, and a venture that the whole country could take place in. All killed off by horrendously shortsighted politics……

      Obviously USF1 isn’t on that same scale, and isn’t in the defense business ;) But it just goes to show us all that talented people, with the right resources and motivation, can produce a great product in the face of traditional suppliers.

  25. Curt Cavin is taking a “I’ll believe it when I see it” attitude.

    Oh, their intent is real, but until I see the $100 million backing, I won’t be optimistic. Bear in mind that this is about the fourth time we’ve heard of a U.S.-based team. I know times have changed and it’s easier than ever to field a team outside of Europe, it’s still wicked expensive. I just can’t see it gaining traction in any economy, let alone this one.

  26. If they are serious about entering I can’t see that it matters if they are or seem to be a United States team with only American drivers. Lets not forget theres only 18 cars this season and who knows there maybe less by the end of it. Any potential new team should be received as good news. Lets hope their on the grid in 2010.

  27. This is a great moment. In Charlotte, you have the Bobcats and the Panthers. I was shocked that the US will have an F1 on the grid. I love to at least see Michael Jordan to be part of this team. He is no stranger to motorsports since he has a US superbike team. I would also love to see Geoff Bodine to be part
    of the project. Bodine has godd success with his sleds that are made in America.

    1. You make a great point with the Panthers and Bobcats, because teams like that help build a pro sports culture that can only be a plus for a venture like USF1. If you look back at Phoenix in the F1 days, the track was junk regardless, but there was very little pro sports development back then, and that didn’t help in building the demographics for the F1 event.

  28. Any Irish teams starting up.

  29. As usual, when weigh in, they pack a lot of weight. Here’s some info on a possible investor:

    If only they would use spellcheck….

    1. And if only their articles wouldn’t mysteriously disappear. I did quote a chunk from that on my Delicious profile though:

      “Haas is due to be released on May 10, having served 16 months, and it will be interesting to see whether at 56 he wants to embark on a new adventure. He can probably afford it and invested $40m in the Windshear facility. Although demand for machine tools is slackening (the company is laying off 200 workers inthe next few weeks) there is a new Haas large-capacity, high-production horizontal machining centre, which it is hoped will create new demand despite the economic slowdown. If Haas is the man behind the project then it can be taken seriously.”

      Doesn’t sound hugely promising if the guy’s in jail…

  30. Hehe, tax evasion. I guess that he can always write the team off as a loss.

  31. Gene Haas!?!? He’s a NASCAR boy. I just can’t see him with the cash. Maybe he can borrow against his company’s assets or something, though.

  32. NOT DANICA PATRICK…she can barely win in IRL

  33. I remember Jeff Gordan drove Montoyas Williams at indianapolis a few years back.He could be a possibility, and what about Montoya himself? you never know.

  34. Hopefully this will be the push need to 1) get more privateer teams into F1 and 2) get at least 1 Grand Prix running again in North America

  35. As an American who gets up at 4am to watch F1, I hope all this comes to fruition. Unfortunately, unlike Europe we have no real F1 training ground here. You grow up wanting to drive NASCAR or Indy cars but not F1…It’s a cultural thing..we like American developed sports and we like CONTACT sports…F1 is a finesse sport and most Americans find it very boring…little passing…and too many runaway victories. As for drivers, we have 330 million people that live in the US…one winning US American team and driver will spawn a boat load of interest in the United States and you would see a lot of US talent in F1…just look at Cycling in Europe…after Greg Lemond, we had an influx in US cycling talent that is still seen today..the same will happen. Personally, I’d like to see Kyle Bush or Almandinger or Graham Rahal get a ride. However, Danica would definitely create interest and needed money for the team and the cash side of this is an important element…so if she wants the seat they will probably give it to her. I’m NOT so sure she couldn’t be competitive but a few tests would show her potential…Gordon is way too old but in his drive in an F1 with only 3 warm up laps he definitely showed that he would have been competitive.

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