Guest Author - Christine Blachford
Part of the cost cutting measures initiated by the FIA were not only to save the sport as we currently know it, but also to garner interest from new teams. F1 needs some fresh blood as we're going into one of the smallest seasons in history, in terms of teams and drivers.
The rumours started circulating last week and more details are leaking out every day, but it appears there is a new team on the horizon that will be based in the US. At first glance, it seems an unusual proposition, given how hideously Bernie Ecclestone has treated North America in recent years. However, the details begin to make sense and the team, hoping to enter the sport in 2010, could just be a viable proposition.
The first thing we knew was that the team would be called USF1 and they had a website with a logo. This didn't seem very much to go on, but more details were forthcoming. The team looked to be fronted by design engineer Ken Anderson and Peter Windsor - a former manager at Williams.
As yet, it's not clear where funding is coming from for the team, no sponsorship or investor details, however there do appear to be plans to have two bases. The first is where the cars would be designed and built, and that would be in Charlotte, North Carolina. Anderson has confirmed that they are currently looking at facilities there, possibly near the university. He also said that they would be looking to feature two American drivers.
It's been a while since Formula 1 featured a successful American driver, with the last - Scott Speed - exiting the sport in a rather ungracious manner. It would be very good for the sport's reputation on both sides of the Atlantic, and Anderson is confident the talent is available.
Assuming they have the funding, the only question that remains is whether they can be ready for the 2010 season. If they are starting operations from scratch, it will be tight for the team to be ready. If they are buying in some existing facilities and even old technologies, then this might give them a head start. Nevertheless, this can only be good news for the sport, and I hope we see them on the grid soon.