F1 – Report: USF1 on Serious Life Support?

I will preface this by saying I am not on an anti USF1 slaughter fest and am willing to admit that the factory for sale post may have been slightly hasty on my behalf; however there are new troubling rumors that Peter Windsor’s dream may be over and they may have some traction.

With only one driver and no cars and with about a month left before Bahrain, USF1’s main financial backer Chad Hurley MAY be leaving the team in favor of Campos Meta or Stefan GP. The rumors have really taken off today and IF this does come to pass, it will signify a critical blow in which I don’t believe the team could recover. Currently there is also heavy rumor that team’s head of business development, Brian Booner has quit the team. There is some information indicating that the dream may be dead when the team failed to complete its official crash test in the UK earlier this week.

While this all may be generated in a rumor mill working overtime, there is no real evidence to refute these charges. USF1 has been silent since signing their first driver and we have no car or any date that would indicate a car is imminent. This would also explain why the team is now late on signing their second driver. The team is also running out of time to use the Barber Motorsports Park that was approved by the FiA as their first test. The winter IndyCar test is due soon and that would mean that either the test would come this week, or the two weeks leading up to Bahrain. That being said, you have to transport equipment to the race locations and there would be no time for that if the test runs that late.

I hate to perpetuate the rumors, but USF1 has done nothing to ease my worry in regards to them making the grid. The FiA has said that teams cannot miss races at the start of the year. If USF1 was to gain a penalty fee for missing the events without any financial backing would simply spell disaster. Keep it here at the paddock as we continue to sift through the rumors and the headlines coming out.

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6 Thoughts to “F1 – Report: USF1 on Serious Life Support?

  1. Hey, just though i’d give a rant about USF1. Alot of Europeans have been sceptical about the team ever since Windsor announced of the concept on the 24th Feb 2009, because they could all see the difficulties that the team have had over the last couple of months. I on the other hand foolishley (or supportivly) have been wanting to see the team and have been following their progress (or lack of as we’ve all found out) throught the off-season just as much as following the progress of Virgin, Lotus and Campos (another team who have also had problems although their situation looked bleak even when they were announced as one of the new teams).

    USF1 have had sooo much time to prepare for this, after the innitial annoucnement in Feb when the team was launched they had a few more months even before they were announced as one of the new teams when the FIA said that they Manor and Campos would get the drives as extra teams. Trying to build a team from scratch is always difficult and the fact that they were doing it in the States was also an obstacle. That being said both Windsor and Ken Anderson have lots of connections in and around motorsport and were always saying ‘we’re be there with no problems’.

    From the start they were saying that they wanted an american driver, but how many american drivers have FIA Superlicences, which arn’t a neccesity as when push comes to shove a driver will get the seat if their CV says that they can have the ability to do so. They should of gone and signed an established older driver, someone whose pedigree would have made the team look secure eg. Villenueve or Fisichella, who with an announcement made would have made the team seem alot more secure and likley of making the grid. Someone of that calibre would have ensured sponsors wanting to sponsor the team and that would have made things easier in terms of getting other jobs done.

    Villeneuve although 38/39 would have been ideal, he’s well liked in america/north america and F1 and his knowledge would have helped early on. If they were to run into problems with an established driver then they would have been in a better situation.

    JMLopez is by no means a bad driver, but after signing him, they could and should have signed a second driver very quickly to ensure that both drivers were on board. American sponsors would have then got involved and with the backing from Argentina through Lopez’s backing they would have been far better secure.

    The whole thing is a shame, supposdly USF1’s car was designed and built with ‘promised’ innovatives that would be different and would help improve the technology of the sport. It would have been great to have an american footprint in the technology of the sport as F1 is the showcase of Motorsport and the technologies in F1 are used to help roadcars and the autosport industry.

    In terms of the American market it’s a big blow as any future bid by an American owned F1 project will just be laughed at and won’t gather any support worthy to get selected as a future F1 team. It’s a shame for the American public who have been treated badly. The USF1 team have a website, facebook and twitter pages but they havn’t done enough to get a relationship with their fans which could mean that anyone wanting to take over them WILL therefore not feel that a supporter base is there and if there is a possible takeover attempt will not therefore take them on.

    This was a great opportunity for the sport to increase it’s profile in the States and it’s a big missed opportunity for american sponsors/companies to get invovled and for their to be an american prescence. It’s a shame as if the team could say surive for 1-2 seasons, there is american (north american) driving talent there with JR Hildebrand, Summerton, Speed (who is still a good option), the talented Alexander Rossi whose doing well in GP2 Asia and the Canadien Wickers. F1 is a world sport and while it’s stepping into the big asian market, it could well do with a prescence in North America. Gilles Villeneuve circuit is great but F1 should be going to Indy and showcasing the sport.

    It’s just sad really as it’s likley to be a big opportunity missed!

  2. Opportunity missed is a good description Adam. Unfortunately, F1 has become a niche sport here in the US. It certainly has its ardent followers, but the lack of US involvement in the sport has all but made it disappear from the publics mind. Even when the USGP was running at Indy, it was treated with ambivalence.

    I don’t think there would have been any way that much attention would have been paid to USF1 (sponsorship wise) unless a NASCAR star driver joined up with the team or possibly Danica…. But then they would have to drive the car and produce good results….

    Anyway, it isn’t over yet. We may still see the USF1 team emerge from their toaster laden facility with a car. But time is running short.

    Dave Richards threw out his opinion this week, echoing those of Stefan GP, Lola and Epsilon Eskudia. “If the FIA picked us, we would be on the grid.” At this point we really have to evaluate the vetting process that the FIA used, and the short amount of time they gave these new operations to get started up, given that they could not finalize their rules package unitl the whole FOTA war blew over.

  3. That liberal rag? 😉 Seriously, though, this has been all over the place reported by sites like Jalopnik and Autoweek.

  4. Well I have to say it’s no surprise. This whole episode has been dodgy from day one. Would of loved to have seen a US team compete in F1 but it was never looking like a real honest effort from USF1.

    I feel for all the guys who gave up their jobs with other teams to work with USF1.

    Lets hope all the rumours aren’t true!

  5. Agreed Tariq. I was a supporter and turned away many of the rumors I had heard leading up to the later part of the offseason, but now it is too much to turn away. Sad news and I don’t think it is just rumor.

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