The much talked about USF1 operation is set to make its first major announcement before February is out, according to one of the two men instrumental in the programme.
Using his established links with SpeedTV
, where he is a regular F1 reporter and analyst, former Williams team manager Peter Windsor confirmed that the team he is setting up with renowned engineer Ken Anderson expects to reveal more about the project live on air 'potentially on 24 February'.
Initially treated as something of an early April Fools' prank, the USF1 story has gradually gathered speed and, while its two co-principals have proven elusive when it comes to extracting greater detail about the programme, titbits of information have been slowly been put together to suggest that, sponsorship permitting, it could be on the grid, as planned, in 2010.
Speaking to his employer, Windsor revealed that the idea for the team had been in the pipeline for some time, with himself and Anderson working 'behind the scenes' to get the foundations in place, leading to the current situation where a formal announcement - something that ought to cement USF1's credibility in the eyes of potential sponsors - should be aired in the coming days.
“Ken and I have been looking at the possibility of designing and building an F1 car in the USA for the past four years,” Windsor claimed, “so I guess the real surprise is that we were able to keep it quiet for so long. The news broke this week, but the real announcement is going to be live on SpeedTV
, potentially on 24 February.”
Although the local media this week confirmed that the team would be based in Charlotte, North Carolina, it is expected that it will also seek out a European base from which to conduct the bulk of its race operations, given the shape of the calendar, which no longer features events at Indianapolis or Montreal.
According to Spanish newspaper Diario Sport
USF1 - which Anderson insists will use American driving talent - could establish a satellite base in Spain, most likely close to one of the country's established testing venues, although possibly alongside the established Epsilon Euskadi team in the north. Epsilon Euskadi has active programmes in both the Le Mans Series and World Series by Renault and has a wind tunnel that meets FIA standards and would complement the Windshear facility that is expected to provide the bulk of the development data as the team's cars are designed and built in America..
"It's all true," admitted former Benetton F1 team manager Joan Villadelprat, now sharing responsibility at Epsilon Euskadi with erstwhile F1 designer Sergio Rinland, "but right now there is nothing definite, only conversations. First, we have to see what happens with the team. They thought they must have a base in Europe and they considered that Spain, where teams test for most of the winter, would be the ideal place."