USF1: why it just might work

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Super Aguri: Japanese engines, Japanese drivers, not enough Japanese sponsors
Super Aguri: Japanese engines, Japanese drivers, not enough Japanese sponsors

The reports that a new American team called USF1 could enter F1 in 2010 have been met with a largely enthusiastic reaction. But the hope that F1 might get a new team soon and that it could come from a country where Formula 1 has struggled to gain national attention is tempered with a degree of scepticism about whether it could ever happen.

Given the shocking state of the global economy and the fact America has no Grand Prix drivers nor an F1 race, fans have good reason to question how likely we are to see USF1 on the 2010 grid. Their plan seems to be to bill the outfit as an all-American team, but recent efforts to brand teams in line with nationalities have not been successful.

America has entered F1 teams in the past, including Parnelli and Penske in the 1970s. The latter even won a race, John Watson taking the victory at the Osterreichring in 1976, one year after the team lost driver Mark Donohue in a crash at the Austrian circuit. Now a group of people are planning to create a new, all-American F1 team.

Many people reacted to the announcement of USF1 by suggesting whether the team would be better suited to A1GP, the self-styled “World Cup of Motorsport”, which already has a Team USA (sadly not ‘Team America‘).

Racing car designer Ken Anderson and journalist Peter Windsor are running the project. (An early report on GrandPrix.com saying Gene Haas was going to be involved in the project has now been amended.)

They apparently plan to run their operations from North Carolina, potentially with a European base in Bilbao, Spain, and have an all-American driver line-up. Inevitably the next question is ‘where are they going to get their money from’?

Raising funds from the American car industry is out of the question. America’s ‘big three’ (Ford, GM and Chrysler) went cap in hand to the government at the end of the year to ask for a multi-billion dollar bailout. GM and Chrysler eventually took the money, but even though Ford has pledged to do without it, all three have suffered huge falls in sales and may not have seen the worst of it yet

Problems with ‘national teams’

The idea of using ‘national pride’ to market a team and drum up support and that all-important sponsorship is not new, but nor has it proved a very successful model.

One of the most recent teams to try it was Super Aguri, which arrived in 2006 with four year-old chassis and a pair of Japanese drivers. Only one of them, Takuma Sato, had the talent to justify his place in the sport, while Yuji Ide looked worryingly out of his depth and was soon replaced. Sakon Yamamoto eventually took his place but Super Aguri’s driver line-up was unquestionably at its best when Sato was paired with Anthony Davidson or Franck Montagny.

Finding two sufficiently talented drivers that a team can afford to run is difficult enough without also stipulating what nationality they are. Vijay Mallya figured this out, and wisely Force India hasn’t rushed to put a young Indian driver such as Karun Chandhok in the car when he is arguably not ready yet.

The other problem Super Aguri had was that too few Japanese sponsors jumped on board with the idea of an all-Japanese team. Even with Honda paying its biggest bills, Super Aguri struggled for sponsorship money, and got into a payment dispute with one of its backers.

American drivers have struggled make it into F1 because of the strength and popularity of rival domestic series. Domestic sports in America tend to draw the crowds and the money more than international events, whether it’s baseball, basketball, American football or, in terms of motor racing, NASCAR. Many up-and-coming American single seater drivers have ended up in stock car racing, from Jeff Gordon to A.J. Allmendinger.

That said there are plenty of young American drivers with potential in the lower leagues. In the comments to an earlier article Gman and JLS suggested Jonathan Summerton, Charlie Kimball, Jake Rosenzweig, Conor Daly, Alexander Rossi, Sean McDonagh, Liam Kenney and John Edwards among others.

Could it work in 2010?

But even if the nationalism model didn’t work for Super Aguri, perhaps it could work for USF1. I see two key differences. First, we’re talking about different countries – and few are more renowned for their sense of national pride than America.

Second, and perhaps most importantly, the cost of competing will be slashed by 2010, the year it plans to arrive in F1. With a supply of engines and gearboxes set to cost around $6.5m/??5m, team budgets could fall to around $65m/??50m. That means less advertising revenue to be found in the first place.

If USF1 becomes a reality it would fulfil two things F1 badly needs: increasing the number of teams in the sport and raising its profile in America. I hope it happens.

More on USF1

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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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41 comments on “USF1: why it just might work”

  1. I really hope this happens too, that last point about increasing the number of teams and raising the profile in America being key. I’m not sure about the idea of only having American drivers necessarily, it could prove quite limiting when there are many good drivers out there waiting to break into F1 who arent American. There is no point putting someone who isnt ready into the car just because they are American. That said if they can find two pretty handy American drivers then why not! Maybe North America would get a race back then too – which can only be a good thing!

  2. I don’t think this is going to happen. It would be great if it did – but it probably won’t.

  3. You’d have to say that they would probably want an American engine in the back of that car too, rather than buying from a current supplier. I wonder who that would be?

  4. While hope never dies and F1 fans would want as many teams (and cars) on the grid as possible, I don’t want to sound pessimitic, but here is realistic evaluation of situation –

    F1 (read Bernie/FOM) act like pain in a$$ to put it mildly, hefty entry fees, random entry criteria ( I wonder what was FIA doing in shortlisting the 11th team on grid last season, when Bernie/FOM should be doing that work) really doesn’t make sense to enter into F1, unless one has serious masochistic tendencies ( to let FOM/FIA blindfold you and inflict pain randomly)

    Once you are done dealing with Bernie/FOM/Max/FIA next in line are other teams in paddock, which are not exactly ones that line up with house warming gifts for new neighbors. I still remember Paul Stoddart’s lonely battle as a privateer against the big piranhas in the paddock. The History was again repeated when Super Aguri team principle was running from pillar to post to keep him team afloat while, Someone from his own sister team was getting pervert pleasures of sinking Aguri San’s boat.

    Enough said, Till people associated with F1 don’t get reality check done and give up their Elitist attitude, it doesn’t make sense for an individual/organization to enter the mess for “love of racing”.

    Of course If throwing disposable funds down the drain is what they are looking for join the party…

  5. Seems to me the folks at USF1 have given themselves a higher hurdle to jump in setting up a whole new F1 infrastructure and more money to raise to pay for it all. Common sense say they should buy out ex-Honda as they already have everything in place, and they could still brand themselves as an American team.

    Either way, I’ll be watching eagerly to see how this all unfolds…

    1. Common sense say they should buy out ex-Honda as they already have everything in place, and they could still brand themselves as an American team. I think thats the indicator of how the world perceives the middle management associated with the current brackley based organization. That people are ready to build from scratch rather than acquire readymade solution in the market. Apparently the readymade solution has lots of bugs that need to be extermintaed :P

  6. Yes, surely an all american team needs backing from an all american manufacturer – I mean Ford of course! Although since the Jaguar misfire, I suppose the Ford family are keeping their fingers away from F1 for the time being….

  7. I hope they succeed. However, having 2 American drivers in one F1 team is a lot of confidence since they don’t know how to make curves.

  8. You are right on the mark, Too Good.

    Why would somebody want to put hundreds of millions of dollars on the line to be mistreated by the likes of Bernie and company. These idiots don’t run the sport with the right intentions. They run it to make the most money for themselves in the short term. Period! No other form of motor racing is run like F1. In other forms, the management of the sport work WITH the car owners (rather than against them) to make the sport entertaining, competitive and most importantly…..sustainable. They don’t indiscriminately change rules (sometimes in mid-season!), change team fees, etc., etc., etc..

    I’m one of the few F1 fans in the US and would LOVE to see an American team (and an American race), but the odds are stacked against ANYBODY coming into F1 from ANYWHERE. A new team based in a country that is currently in deep economic trouble, has struggled in the past to find enough fans for the sport, has little F1 savvy personnel to populate a team, and a sport that does not know how to market itself (lack of Internet, etc)……It’s a real long shot and the mountain they would have to climb to make it happen is huge.

    I really do hope it happens and they have enough success to last a few years, but I give it a 10% chance at best.

    P.S. – F1 would be much better off if Bernie retired and there was some new blood put in charge. Nothing’s going to get better in F1 as long as Bernie’s in charge. He’s running the sport into the ground. Example: An 18 car grid is ridiculous.

  9. I would love to see this but I think that the layout does not work. I dont see this comming to light in 2010. But I could be wrong but if you are going to make a team that is all American here is where I see this being a huge issue.
    1. Even with a reduced cost, it is going to cost a lot to build a car from scratch and hire all the folks and put the team together. Now granted if they go to NC where most of the US Racing world lives there is room but a Stock car or American OW is a far cry from an F1 car.
    2. Who is going to build the engine. The big three cant go spending money on this (American Tax Payers would get a little mad.)So it would have to come from another maufacuter.
    3. Sponsers, Again w/ the world in recession I dont know who or how you get someone to sport there logo on your car for the cost. There are a few Phone serices that are not in NASCAR due to licens agrement with Sprint so they might be up for grabs. They may have to look to a forgien sponser who wants to get their name in the US market.
    4. Driver, US has talent in our local series of Star Mazda, Atlantics, Formula BMW USA but our biggest OW Indycar dose not have a lot of American Talent in it. And most Americans dont get far on the Euro ladder of OW.

    This is what I see as the biggest draw backs for a US F1 Team.

    1. Transportation? There is a reason that most other teams base themselves in Europe…

  10. remember in 1996, back in the day that Alain Prost create Prost Grand Prix, everything french (Ligier, Peugeot, Panis) managing only 1 win (Olivier Panis, 97, Mugen Honda) and then for few years later the team get closed!!! In Formula 1 world, the so called “national team” never seems to work!

  11. Do we crazy Americans (what I know you’re thinking it) want an F1 team?

    YES!!

    Well, those of us that know and love F1 do. The problem being, there aren’t many of us. So the real trick, is to make it so financially viable that it is silly not to.

    How is that accomplished?

    First, by waiting till 2010 when the prices drop considerably. That also means not buying Honda (no matter how badly you think it would be the right answer). Someone still should buy Honda,, I just don’t think it’s right for a true start up team.

    Is there the infrastructure there to make an F1 car,, simple answer yes. There are plenty of Carbon Fiber bits and stray engineers in the area to form 20 new teams overnight, (and the others they need they can pull in from Detroit, Indy, and L.A.) The talent on the engineering/manufacturing side are clearly there.

    To start,, go factory engine. What American is going to complain of a few prancing horses in the back of our car, just paint that part red, and move on,, then when the time is right make your own engine (that’s what I’d do).

    As they’d likely be fighting their early battles from the rear of the grid, go the grassroots route for initial sponsorship (grassroots millions that is) then move towards a few key sponsors. There are a number of ways to execute something of this magnitude, and “nationalizing” a team, would be a good way to bring small to medium sized sponsors together. (hmm,, could all the US automakers be on 1 car? No, but it would be great if they did!)

    Logistics, basing out of the U.S. wouldn’t be that much of a problem, and maintaining a permanent staging area in Spain or England would give an improved logistical presence in the European sector, for both test teams and race prep.

    Finally,, as for U.S. drivers. We built Steve Austin,, we can make some drivers (check out Scott Schroeder over in Grand Am, or any of the other younger guys running open wheel and sports car, and get them on an accelerated route to F1 pronto!)

    USA! USA!! USA!!!!
    (yeah,, we want a team,, to win,, but first,, fiscal solvency!)

    1. To Fred,

      I like the way you think. You are right there are those of us who do want a F1 team and we are a small group. Those do sound like a good way to start but it would be a very steep hill. But it would be great to see

  12. Last I heard there are many tube frame and sheet metal benders in North Carolina but not too many high tech carbon fiber specialty skills or facilities. There’s a world of difference in fabbing a NASCAR sled compared to an F1 car.

    Regardless of all the optimism and possibilities, someone still needs to front a boatload of cash and real credit to get this thing going. Unless Andersen and Windsor have pockets the size of V.J. Mallya I am still skeptical.

    Nothing better for me to hear of a USF1 team starting, but only if it has a real chance of succeeding. I think 2011 would be more realistic than 2010.

  13. If the rumors are right, they’re getting the right kind of people behind it with Windsor and Anderson. The access they will get to Gene Haas’ rolling wind tunnel cannot be understated in its value, as it is truly revolutionary technology. And if they are basing it in Charlotte, they’re basing it in the best place in the U.S. to headquarter a racing operation, as the area is swimming not only with NASCAR engineering talent, but also Open Wheel and Sports Car engineering talent. (Both Ganassi and Penske base all of their operations in every series of racing in the Charlotte area.)

    Another thing to keep an eye on with USF1 is sponsorship. Charlotte has become a major hub of the U.S. financial sector, arguably now the financial capital of the Southeastern United States. It’s the headquarters of Bank of America, which has not been damaged as badly by the financial crunch as other banks. Given that BofA is HQed in Charlotte, look out for them as a potential American sponsor for USF1.

    Although this probably won’t happen, I would love to see Jeff Gordon get a chance behind the wheel of their car in F1. He’s far and away NASCAR’s best road racer, and he had a good test of a Williams car back in 2003. He also has the right stature in terms of height and weight for a F1 car, whereas someone like Tony Stewart or Robby Gordon is vastly overweight.

  14. Steve Nichols left McLaren at the end of last season for a new challenge so he went to NASCAR. Maybe, just maybe an American with a few championship winning F1 cars behind him could appeal to a USF1 team.

    Of course should McLaren be in on this they could do a technology deal with the new team which would have no testing restrictions on it as it has not entered the championship yet.

    And of course McLaren and Mercedes have been very reticent about discussing Paul di Resta’s program for this year.

    So a former McLaren designer and a McLaren protegé driver could test their hearts out using a year old McLaren chassis for example.

    Now isn’t that a nice little conspiracy theory.

  15. Paige, do you know if Penske and Ganassi do their own carbon fiber alterations or forming? That would be key in building an F1 car.

  16. All – Don’t want to throw another spanner at this discussion. But reminds me of entry selection procedure for 11th team that had happened in recent past.
    While there had been more entries, Based on information in public domain on one entry that was rejected and the entry that was selected.
    a) Entry Rejected – Trevor Carlin’s Carlin Motorsports.
    This Gem of Man ( Probably thats his biggest shortcoming), acquired Roger Penske’s defunct Racing operations in UK, Ramped up team, identified designers, technicians and engineers for proposed entry.To top it had wind tunnel capability (which was better than the then Spyker Team). And after all this methodic preparation the result was his application was rejected over
    b) Prodrive – Dave Richards, Friend of Max Mosley (that was his only eligibility criterion)had tentetive talks with McLaren-Mercedes to buy off the shelf car from Woking team. Barring this tentetive talks there was no other plan B
    and Voila bid b) was selected over bid a) Of course there may have been many more bids like a), but who cares.

    Thats just one example of state of affairs in F1 , where Motorsports Governing Body was selecting entries (while Sports administrating body FOM had no say).

    Another example is USGP2005 ,where on contrary to its stand of Safety at motorsports events, FIA interfered and prevented Bernie(Series organizer),Tony George (Event Organizer)and Teams (Participants) to provide a solution(chicane) to ensure safe race for all participants and the results of that have been well documented.

    This two examples are indicator of root causes of problem with present F1, the roles and responsibilities of all the parties involved viz. Governing Body, Series Organizer(FOM),Teams(Participants), Race Promoters (Event Organizers)….. and I am not even talking about the biggest element the Fans who have been taken for granted for ever since Spanky Max has assumed FIA Leadership

  17. I expect Mike Gayscoyne to end up with this team in some form. If it happens,then a new lease of life just keeps coming for this guy….Wonder where he will end up if he gets fired by USF1…..

  18. I hope they can make it on the grid, as F1 badly needs an all-new team. But I’m still in the “believe it when I see it” school of cynicism. There’s been a good few new-team plans in the past few years, all of which have come to nowt.

    But maybe 2010 is the right starting place for a new team.

  19. AFAIK, USF1 was looking at running the standard Cosworth engine Max wants to introduce. That would be economical, and I think also has enough of an American connection to satisfy USF1’s constituency (of which I proudly consider myself a member!).

  20. Not optimistic. In terms of generating interest and sponsorship, the team might gain some time on Speed TV, but you are talking about a country where major newspapers will post the results of high school football games but not yesterday’s F1 race. Further, the model of a national team doesn’t work for the same reason national airlines, national steel mills, and national automakers never seem to work out, which needs no further explanation. You need more than a pool of talent, and no one country, even the USA, has what it takes within its borders alone to make a successful team. National teams only work when they are in name only, e.g., Force India (so far). But we Americans might just be vain enough to forget that and give it a go.

  21. To get started successfully, two things I believe are essencial :
    — an experienced f1 driver, for a thousand reasons.
    — in their European base, someone with experience in F1. If they go to the Bilbao center, they will have a really good guy there ( Villadelprat – McLaren, Ferrari, Tyrell, etc )
    What is a pity is the mafia – like situation of F1 authorities. This is enough to discourage anyone trying to enter the world of F1 with good faith. In a different situation we could really do all kinds of interesting joint ventures with our American brothers.

  22. I like the idea of an American team, and I think it will happen

  23. Well i think that having asome sort of USA team in f1 is fine, and having the team headquarters in carolina too is ok so long as they actually run the team properly from europe.
    In the past you have had drivers and teams try to do the formula one game from across the atlantic, and it never really worked.
    Like when Nigel mansell moved to indy car in 1992 he said he had to imerse himself into the whole american scene by moving there to live. And it worked for him (well at least in 1993 lol).
    As far as an engine supply they will struggle unless the financial situation eases dramatically by 2010.

  24. i meant some not ASOME. my typo sorry

  25. One of the best written posts I have read in the one year I have been reading the site. Very good points throughout the piece. The only way it happens is if the economy turns. NASCAR and Indycar are having tough enough time to run there sports right now from sponsors let alone a gamble like this.

  26. 1. marco andretti, with either dario franchitti or jenson button

    2. ford-branded cosworth

    3. some degree of partnership with williams

    4. sponsorship from an oil company and fast food

  27. For this new F1 team, a dream team of sponsors and partners are needed for the young drivers (Just like the young US hockey players who competed in the World Championships when college players were used before the
    NHL players then took over). Anderson will become that
    Herb Brooks type of owner.

    And an all-star of sport celebrities are needed. And this is my USF1 corporation.

    Bobby Rahal.
    Dan Gurney.
    Geoff Bodine – Founder of the Bo-Dyn Bobsled project.
    Former Bull Michael Jordan and a NC native.
    John Elway.
    Wayne Gretzky.
    Jerry Jones.
    Mark Cuban.
    Mike Ditka.
    Bill Gates.

    1. As a lifelong Giants fan, anything that Jerry Jones gets his grubby, Bernie-esque hands on is pretty much a toxic asset in my book ;)

      Seriously, you’ve got a fantastic concept there- Mark Cuban would be ideal, and don’t forget Joran is now pulling the trigger in the front office for the Bobcats- he’s a natural for PR work in this case. And for the 50+ crowd, we can have “Iron Mike” bringing in the sponsorship for the hair color and ED products. Perfect :)

    2. Sorry to take up two comments here, JLS, but I diden’t read your part of the young driver list until after my first reply. I haden’t heard of many of those guys- way to do your homework on the whole list :)Even if some of us don’t think many of those guys can make it, I don’t think i’ve seen more info in a comment on here in the year that i’ve been posting.

      Bomarito had a great battle with Summerton (also a Newman/Wachs driver) for the Atlantics title this season, with both losing out in the end. I don’t know if Kyle Busch would make the jump without winning at least one Sprint Cup title, but his quote towards NASCAR of “They took the F1 car away from me” was one of the best of the year in my book! And for less-informed fans (such as myself) don’t forget that Connor Daly is the son of former F1 driver and longtime motorsports commentator Derek Daly, who now lives in the U.S.- I remember Bob Varsha talking about him winning the Skip Barber title on F1 broadcasts this season.

    3. Sorry GMan.

      But here are the potential list of drivers who might
      become the next “Mike Eruziones” of Racing.

      Alexander Rossi – 2008 Formula BMW World Finals champ and Formula BMW Americas champ.

      JR Hildebrand -Current Indy Lights driver for AFS
      and 2006 Cooper series champ.

      Jonathan Bomarito – 2nd in the Atlantic Series in 2008.

      Jonathan Summerton 3rd in the Atlantic Series in 2008.

      Richard Antinucci – Eddie Cheever’s nephew. F3 Euroseries veteran and 2nd in the Indy Lights in 2008.

      Here are other potential hopefuls in the future:

      Sean McDonagh who was runner-up in the Formula BMW Pacific Series in 2008

      Carl Skerlong – Atlantic driver.

      Liam Kenney who will compete in the Formula ADAC Masters in 2009.

      Conor Daly who won the Walter Hayes Trophy last December. 2008 Skip Barber champ.

      Josef Newgarden – winner of the Formula Ford Festival.
      2008 Skip Barber Runner-up

      Jake Rosenzweig – 2008 Formula Renault 2.0 Western European Cup driver who was 3rd in the rookie standings.
      Will compete in the F3 Euro Series with Carlin Motorsport.

      John Edwards – 2008 Star Mazda Champ. Will compete in the Atlantic series for Newman/Wachs in 2009

      Ryan Hunter-Reay is still unsinged for 2009 Indy Car and may become a driver with veteran experience. And is
      needed along with Scott Speed.

  28. I agree with F1Yankee’s fourth point, a McDonald’s branded F1 car would be good face time for a company that’s been slowly retooling its image towards well-to-do. If that happens, Sebastien Bourdais should be their first target as a lead driver.

    Marco Andretti does not impress me, Franchitti is too tall and too old, so in Jenson Button.

    I don’t agree with comments about American driving talent; I think nowadays people will like a team because they are a good team, not because of the country they are from. I’m not even sure I agree with the “young drivers” list.

    This is perhaps the right time to start thinking about creating a team for folks that want to go it as privateers, though. Perhaps USF1 isn’t a branding issue as much as a way to completely blank a viewer’s expectations.

    1. Now, who’s ripping on tall people here…????

      Just kididng ;) Seriously, McDonalds- both here in the U.S. and internationally- is perhaps the best sponsor for promotional purposes. The advertising potential for USF1 via McDonalds promotions in unreal- and that includes toy race cars and pit crew guys in the Happy Meal toys!!

      You’re correct about Button, but one thing everyone seems to be missing about him is he’s WAY too expensive! One of the hidden pluses about using young American drivers is that they will be relatively cheap to sign- that’s a major cost saving for the team right off the bat.

    2. @Chunter – Hmmmm American drivers don’t have talent…
      Thats another Speciality of F1 I didn’t write about, its all for the brits(and Europeans maybe),of the brits(and Europeans maybe) by “of course monies of non-brits, and non-europeans”

      Seems like most Brit/European fans are in line with Team bosses on F1 grid, for whom while monies of Non- Brit(Non European) sponsors is Ok, but drivers from those parts of world will always be discriminated against. Pretty much what the Nick Fry and his brackley cronies did with Japanese money
      Hmmmm

  29. Plenty of great commentary here, both in the posting and all of the comments- hats off everyone :)

    I agree that there are many serious isuses facing a project of this nature, and the whole thing could indeed go down the drain before even ne GP. But what I keep thinking is that Anderson and Windsor- even with some of us dislking him as a journalist- are serious F1 people, and they must have some sens of how to pull off a deal of this magnitude. We’ll obviously find out more when a more formal press conference happens.

  30. IF this is going to happen, wouldn’t they really need to designing next year’s car already?

    On another note, didn’t McLaren Technologies recently set up a US Base of operations… I could see a tie in there…especially if Ron wants to sell his new supercar (P11) to the US market…

    1. Indeed they did- it was described in some detail on page 8 of the October 2008 issue of Racing Line, McLaren’s in-house magazine. The company is described as being named McLaren Electronics Inc.- a subsidiary of McLaren Electronic Systems. The location is Mooresville, NC- I would imagine that is close to the potetial USF1 base. While the write-up dosen’t mention anything about another F1 team, it sounds like they want to branch out into various fields, so perhaps this is an option for them.

  31. USF1 would make a good April 1st story. The way F1 is run currently, it can go up in smoke at any moment.

  32. The arrogance of SOME of the postings on this article is appauling.

    Do you think that Americans have never heard of carbon fibre, or are not capable of fabricating a race car using it? Come on, how many other countries have landed on the moon…we did it 4 decades ago. Who created a radar invisible jet? Or the Blackbird spy plane that expands as it gets up to speed and leaves Earth’s atmosphere. SkunkWorks was full of cutting edge aerodynamicists back in the days of the cold war. I could go on and on. (such as adjustable coil over shocks) Do you honestly think that technology is going to be a limiting factor? This is nonsense. Okay…enough ranting. :)

    I love the idea of having a US F1 team. I am sure that the team will not be 100% American…Peter Windsor is not from the US so it can’t be. With all of that said, I must say that I would love to see Newey signed by USF1 as well. Having a seasoned engineer such as this would be a shot in the arm of any start up team.

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