Peter Windsor, co-principal of the nascent USF1 operation that has been making headlines of late, insists that Formula One needs to return to the United States, and that his team can help the process.

Speaking to Crash.net, the former Williams team manager admitted that the sport was lacking a vital component having lost both the US and Canadian grands prix in recent years, and insisted that there was a large fanbase that would welcome it back should the situation be reversed in coming seasons.

"I think F1 needs the USA, because it's a huge market for every company that's in F1 - it's the world's biggest market, and still the world's most powerful economy," he pointed out, "As for a US Grand Prix, I think that there will be one in the future, and maybe we will play a small part in regenerating some of that interest in getting a race going here.

"But, ultimately, our mantra is not to try and convert America to F1 - we're trying to take America to F1, rather than take F1 to the United States. We're not trying to convert NASCAR fans to F1, and we never will because it's much too big, but I think that there are a lot of F1 fans in the United States and they will really get behind this team.

"The interest we've had since the news on this has leaked out - and not by us, I have to say - has been absolutely fantastic. We have been inundated with support, goodwill, people applying for jobs... We've had a million hits on a dormant website that doesn't have anything more than a logo on it, that's a million hits in three days, and it just shows how much interest there is in having an American F1 team."

Reinstating one or both the US and Canada to the F1 schedule would be in keeping with the sport's global expansion, which has seen the likes of Bahrain, China, Singapore and, from 2009, Abu Dhabi replacing the more traditional European events, and Windsor admits that the change has helped justify the decision to start a team, from scratch, in the non-F1 heartland of America.

"We always wanted to do a team in the United States, proving that American technology was at least the equal of anything in Europe, and, now that the world championship is 50 per cent outside Europe, it's no longer the European domain," he explained.

"The fact that the calendar is 50 per cent outside Europe, and there is less testing in Europe, has an enormous impact and was one of the justifications for [launching USF1]. If there were still 90 per cent of the races in Europe, and massive amounts of testing in Europe, it would be more difficult to do what we're going to do, but that is no longer the case."

Windsor did confirm that USF1 would set up a satellite base in Europe, most likely in Spain, but that it would not be more than a staging post.

"We'll have a small logistics base in Spain, which will really be an operational base for the trucks, motorhomes, pit equipment, etc, and a base from which we will be loading freight from some of the European hubs when we go overseas," he noted, "Otherwise the entire heart and soul of this team will be in the United States. Unless it's a double-header grand prix weekend, the boys will be coming back to Charlotte after each race and it will be a very American team."

Starting from scratch has not been a viable option for F1 aspirants in recent years, but Windsor admitted that it was the only way to go if the dream of operating from the US was to be achieved, as opposed to buying up the remains of the Honda team.

"Obviously, starting a team in America meant starting from zero and that's why we did it," he acknowledged, "As far as buying Honda is concerned, they are really the 'old guard' - hundreds of millions of dollars, 600-700 people, in many ways a case study of why F1 needs to change.

"If you are looking at a new operating ceiling financially, it is much more logical to approach that ceiling from zero and grow into it organically than it is to be running at $250m and have to trim your costs down to $65m and lay off lots of people. They've got their own management strategies and, if you start laying off people, you destroy what you had in the first place.

"If you look at any normal business, the good people are hired initially and they get promoted and have a team of people under them, then they are the highest-paid people and the ones that go first when you have to lay people off, so it's a mess really when you have to start reducing overheads by two-thirds - which is what some of these teams are going to be doing. It is much more logical to grow from zero."

Comments

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment