This is definitely a first in the world of F1. USF1 team principle Peter Windsor has revealed that USF1 has been given special dispensation from the FIA to test their car stateside at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.
While no official details about where they will unveil the car have been announced, Peter did give us an early February timeframe for when their car will be hot shoeing it around the moto track.
“Because we are a new team and start everything from zero the first time we will run the car will be in the United States at the Barber Motorsport Park in Alabama, the circuit that was nominated by the FIA for us. We’ve got the dispensation from the FIA, which is fantastic, because we are not based in Europe. We are the only team that does have a test circuit outside Europe, so it is totally logical for us that we run the car the first time in the US at the beginning of February. We are allowed three sessions in the US. Then we will ship it to Spain to do some testing there before we fly out to Bahrain.”
Again, no details on where the car will be launched, but the most likely scenario is that SpeedTV will do a live broadcast of the car launch at USF1’s shop, or possibly at Speed’s Charlotte based studios.
The question of drivers is still up in the air though. USF1 has yet to announce either of their drivers for the 2010 season. Argentinian Jose Maria Lopez has been strongly linked with the team, and rumors are pointing to British driver James Rossiter in the other seat. Presumably, at least one of the drivers will have to be announced in time for the Barber test, but most likely both will be introduced as part of the car launch.
It will certainly be interesting to compare USF1’s laptimes to those set during the IndyCar test at Barber last spring, as well as the times the IRL will set in their inaugural race at Barber on April 11th. I don’t expect the IRL cars to compare favorably with USF1’s laptimes, but stranger things have happened. Did you notice that half the grid is driving Cosworths this year?