Ken Anderson has dismissed suggestions that being based the other side of the Pond to all other grand prix teams will be an instant disadvantage when USF1 takes to the starting grid in the top flight – instead claiming that 'most of the technology in Formula 1 comes from the United States to begin with'.
Some within the sport have greeted with incredulity the news that Anderson and USF1 co-founder Peter Windsor are planning to launch a new team at the pinnacle of international motorsport, particularly at a time of such economic uncertainty, when sponsors are unlikely to be easily found.
The first US-based Formula 1 outfit since the short-lived, Teddy Mayer-run Team Haas Lola/Beatrice more than two decades ago will be based in Charlotte, North Carolina, the heart of NASCAR country. That is where the cars will be both designed and built, an ocean away from the F1 heartland of Europe and, more specifically, England – with the knock-on required time and cost of travel and transport an added concern.
That has prompted a good degree of cynicism about just how much of a serious endeavour USF1 is, or whether it is merely an extravagant media ploy, but Anderson – who has previously acted as technical director at firstly Ligier and then Onyx at the end of the 1980s and a man with vast design and engineering experience in both IndyCar and NASCAR circles – is adamant that the project is very much a realisable one.
“Most of the technology in Formula 1 comes from the United States to begin with,” he explained in an interview on SPEED TV
to officially launch the new venture. “We live in an age of FedEx, DHL, UPS, so the logistics side is pretty simple, and as of next year less than half of the races will be on the continent, so there's less reason for being there.
“Whether it's going to Australia from here or from England is kind of a moot point, [but] the cost of doing business in the United States is significantly cheaper than in Europe, and there are a lot of good people here.”
Indeed, it was Anderson who designed and built the state-of-the-art, 100 per cent scale Windshear wind tunnel in North Carolina, which has already been used by other F1 teams. Former Williams and Ferrari team manager Windsor – a man, moreover, with a good deal of experience in attracting sponsorship – explained that the inspiration behind USF1 is that of trying to recreate America's past glories in the sport.
Aside from world champions Phil Hill and Mario Andretti, he also pointed to such as Dan Gurney, Richie Ginther, Peter Revson and Masten Gregory in evoking the US' long and rich heritage in F1. The current perception of the States within the sport, however, is one of the recent failures of Michael Andretti and Scott Speed to make the grade – and that is a perception that Windsor aims to turn firmly on its head.
“Both of us grew up with a passion for Formula 1,” the SPEED TV
commentator stated, “and for what the great names achieved. That's what it's all about, but how do you put together a Formula 1 team? That's an interesting question. There's no book about it; there are lots of books about how to drive a race car perhaps, but no books about how to do a Formula 1 team.