• Feb 4, 2009
When reports began to surface about the formation of a U.S.-backed Formula One team, we weren't surprised. Every three-to-five years, speculation about a new U.S. campaign crops up, and inevitably – almost routinely – they're shot down within a month. However, our lack of surprise didn't stem from the rumor's cyclical nature; we've known about USF1 for over a month and have been waiting to drop the details about how the franchise, the players and the financial backers that plan to bring America back to F1 in 2010.

Get the scoop after the jump.

The Players

As reported earlier, the two principals behind USF1 are Ken Anderson and Peter Windsor.

Anderson has a storied career in both four-wheeled and two-wheeled motorsports dating back to 1979. In the interim, he's served as the technical director for the Ligier and Onyx F1 teams, helped design several open wheel racecars, was instrumental in five Indianapolis 500 victories and recently completed work on the Windshear Wind Tunnel – already booked by several top F1 teams for testing – near USF1's home-base in Charlotte, NC.

Anyone who's watched F1 in the past decade is familiar with Peter Windsor. He's served as the English-language interviewer for SpeedTV and Fox, along with writing for F1 Racing and Autosport Japan. More importantly, Windsor served as a Drivers' and Constructors' Championship-winning team manager for Williams F1, once oversaw Ferrari's F1 chassis and suspension departments and is currently the director of Fifty-Four Nine, the clandestine driver coaching company that helps develop F1, GP2 and F3 talent.

The Pitch

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.

As opposed to Major League Baseball, Football and NBA franchises, the crew behind USF1 maintains there are better branding opportunities in F1, not to mention a global audience of three billion viewers, putting F1 among the World Cup and Olympic Games as one of the most recognizable sports in the world.

The average viewer age (25 to 44) and a more affluent consumer base, many of which are located in emerging markets, are both touted in the USF1's business plan. In 2007, Formula One was estimated to take in about $4 billion in revenue, with the front-running teams grossing over $200 million each through sponsorships, television rights, technical support and merchandising.

Supposedly, F1's heads are excited at the prospect, approving USF1's application for matching funds and according to our sources, the start-up has already completed a round of successful fundraising. Naturally, the exotic locales, sexy sponsors and luxurious lifestyle that surrounds F1 are key to getting backers on board.

The Media

The new media landscape will be an instrumental part of delivering content to viewers, and USF1 plans to tap several foreign and domestic distribution companies to keep viewers up-to-date on the American F1 team's exploits. The crew is partnering with television producers and documentary filmmakers from Perpetual Motion Films to create long and short films, high-definition video, photos and stories detailing USF1's progress. All of this will be delivered both online and through selected TV outlets, providing fans with extraordinary access.

The Timing

Depending on your perspective, the launch of the USF1 team couldn't be better, or more poorly, timed.

On one hand, the newly imposed limits on spending, research and development make it one of the easiest times for a new team to compete at the upper echelon of motorsport. The new rules put a cap on budgets, staffing and development, while limiting the vehicles' technical requirements in an effort to make the sport more appealing to the audience.

USF1 would be the first team born under these new regulations, allowing them to be highly adaptable, focused and streamlined, and the team's principals make it abundantly clear that the USF1 crew is the future of the sport.

Of course, on the flip-side, we've got the global economic meltdown. Getting full-fledged funding for an unproven team in these market conditions is a Herculean task of epic proportions. And its success is dependent on continued interest in the sport from both the fans and the money men.

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. Those are high aspirations for a team that hasn't even publicly confirmed its existence. Judging by recent history, USF1 may never get the chance, but if there was ever a time to make an attempt, it's now.


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  • 63 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I won't blindly be a fan simply because they're American. First, they have to be free of handlebar mustaches and anyone named "Junior". Secondly, they have to actually win. We'll see how it pans out...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yeah it's getting a little too late for Marco he needs to make move out of that Jr series he races in. Hell GP2 could be a nice start for him or a year of testing with any F1 team but he's the same age or close to Lewis. F1 moves at light speed Kimi is now considered an elder statesmen in F1 and that's crazy! but that's F1 I wish a US team works but they just can't come out with a statement claiming "Only American can drive our cars" yeah keep thinking like that and if this team makes the grid one day it may be shorted lived.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Personally, I hope that the US fields a quality team. Formula1 is vastly popular worldwide. However, it has been an enigma here in the States for several reasons. 1) Lack of network coverage (sorry SpeedTV doesn't count)
      2) The Indy debacle really tarnished F1's appeal here
      3) The lack of American drivers( let's face it we like to support our own)
      4) The incredible amount of money required to start a team. Hopefully, the newer restrictions will add to some parity in F1.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Where do I sign up? I'd be happy to be a gofer or third wiper if that's what it took. When you take politics and sponsorship into account Graham Rahal, Marco Andretti and Danica Patrick would be the top three choices, IMHO.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm in Charlotte and didn't know there was a potential F1 team based here. Everything is Nascar around these parts.

      Given the economic climate plus the fact that Charlotte is being hit especially hard due to the financial industry I don't see this happening but it would be cool - would give further drive to bring back a US F1 (and the Canadian one too)
        • 5 Years Ago
        So does Indianapolis. The city encourages teams to set up shop with tax breaks & other economic incentives. State of Indiana might also help. Charlotte NC is one racing hub, but so is Indy.

        JMO, but I think OW job force in Indy would be better suited to a USF1 team over NASCAR job force.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Charlotte has a huge local industry for nascar. Plenty of shops there that can do very high quality work.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This might actually make me start watching F1 again. I stopped back in 2006 when it became ridiculously boring and too European in it's feel. It needs more flavour and this should be good.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @jake snake

        "I may drive a BMW, but my 3 series looks nothing at all like the BMW Sauber team car. You might as well ask me to watch a Rhinoceros run around a track."

        So just like the Indy/Champ car series then? Next excuse?

        The only reason Americans don't like it is because they don't have control over it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think that the reason we dont watch F1 much is the lack of passing and racing at times. I dont like Nascar but at least they pass a lot during races which breeds excitement. F1 is just broing when the pole sitter is going to win a majority of the time. I love to watch F1 cars because of the speed and technology but qualifying at times is more interesting than the race itself.

        Maybe Im wrong but that's my opinion.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Too European in its feel" What the heck does that mean? It's comments like that that paint Americans as a bunch of provincial morons.
        My son and I watch FI regularly and enjoy the high level of competition, performance, and technology. We also watch ALMS which is a great series with some of the elements of F1.
        I don't understand why so many people won't watch Formula One unless an American team or driver is involved. It's not about the nationalities, it's about the CARS!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Last year was pretty damn good if you ask me - one of the closest championships ever....last corner of the last race.
        • 5 Years Ago
        My theory as to why Americans don't like F1, is that there is Nothing about it we can Identify with.

        We look at Nascar and NHRA cars, and we see our own cars. Yes, that Dodge Charger or Ford Fusion going around Daytona may have little in common with the ones you buy at a dealership, but at least they are identifiable.
        "See that Chevy Impala Jimmie Johnson is driving? It's sorta like mine."
        Nascar and NHRA appeal to the guy who likes to floor it in his Challenger at a stop light when a Mustang is alongside him. Nascar is Chevy against Ford against Dodge. Enough Camrys are on the road, so we'll let Toyota in on it.

        I may drive a BMW, but my 3 series looks nothing at all like the BMW Sauber team car. You might as well ask me to watch a Rhinoceros run around a track.

        Lewis Hamilton may be a great driver but he drives a.... Vodaphone? No, a McLaren. Ahhh yes. A McLaren. Whatever.

        And this is why F1 will never gain acceptance in America.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Too European? F1 has been reaching out of Europe for a few years now, it lost Austria, one of the two races in Germany, Spa was missing for a year, and there used to be two races in Italy too.

        It's not F1's fault that there are no races in North America. And it's not F1's fault that the US failed to produce a driver that would be even moderatelly competitive in the top class. The last guy that came from North America and was actually good was Jacques Villeneuve, French Canadian who raced in Europe and Japan before winning Indy and went to F1.

        As much as I wished Scott Speed to remain in F1, he just wasn't F1 material. I'm not saying that N. Karthikeyan is, but at least he found enough Indian sponsor to back him.

        But it's not about having wealthy fathers. Robert Kubica is from Poland, his parents were not rich, and Michael Schumacher's father was a bricklayer or something.
      Don Pentecost
      • 3 Years Ago
      I am an American, and I knew the USF! team would fail !!! regardless how much money they have... plenty of info on the (future) world's no. 1 F-1 driver, Don Pentecost..google it. no shock about the USF1 team...*****, rich kid drivers is what they had their mind swet on. When you only recruit from the existing "cookie cutter" driver pool, you will never win a world championship, no matter who is supplying the cars...you need someone like myself, with a killer instinct...check out www.want2playchicken.wordpress.com
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm in. Where do I send my resume?
      • 5 Years Ago
      USF1?

      Great!!! They'll build a bunch of crappy cars and each one will be almost exactly the same as the rest, but they'll wear different badges on the tail ("badge-engineering" they'll call it). The cars will be available to drivers at "employee pricing" rates with 0% financing for 20 years. Then the team will go bankrupt, and either beg the feds for cash or sell out to a v-cap fund.

      And the rest league will wonder who let in the riff-raff...
      • 5 Years Ago
      I could die a happy person if GM became the engine supplier (branded as Cadillac, maybe?) and put Tony Stewart in the car. Seriously. I'd love to see he and some latte sipping frenchman get in a slugfest. F1 would never be the same.
      • 5 Years Ago
      wow, first article in a long time with lots of "money" and none of the "D" word...you know, the one that rhymes with adroit. if there are non-nascar auto industry companies participating in the development and running of the team, then it really begs the question, what will be D's influence on the effort? personally, i feel they are natural partners for the building hype bit, purely coincidentally. it does give D the opportunity to actually contribute, and absorb f1 tech. if the marketing dept is also American, we could see some interesting approaches...think vegas...i think a stretched open-wheel limo has already been spotted somewhere.

      the curious bit is that USA has arguably the biggest auto enthusiast market in the world...yet, most know nothing of it, some think it is the Indy 500, and the rest don't get it on TV. its almost like most American gearheads have never seen or heard an F1 car...forget about seeing one or two driven in anger....i guess it all depends on what types of viewership numbers FOM and the new team is looking for.

      it will definetly be exciting to see another team going at it...and being a few hours away from seeing them doing test runs...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Andy Lally?
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