Note: This article was written on March 1, 2009
Like most American F1 fans, I was pleased and excited to hear the news that Peter Windsor and Ken Anderson were planning an F1 team based in the US. The loss of both Indy and Montreal from the race calendar removed any direct involvement F1 had on the North American continent. The dismissal of Scott Speed from Scuderia Toro Rosso was the other bit of bad news that US fans had to digest in the last couple of years.
Like many others, I questioned whether a project like USF1 had the wherewithal to join the top ranks of racing’s elite. I found that my initial skepticism waned as I looked further into the possibilities. Those of you who are familiar with my points of view know that I am no dreamer. Be that as it may, I think their business plan may have a chance, but many things must come together in the next 12 months for these guys to pull this rabbit out of their hat.
Finance – The first question everyone has is, “how will they pay for this?” I had the same thoughts. The economy is in deep trouble worldwide, and sponsors are dropping out of series in both Europe and the US. But, the FIA and FOTA have committed themselves to lowering the costs. There have been many suggestions of how to do this, and some ideas like testing restrictions, wind tunnel usage, and the engine freeze have become realized. The future costs of F1 will be contained if these efforts continue. This will make the arrival of new teams more financially viable, but a team still needs about $100 million USD to fund a one year campaign.