Though it is known that US GPE plans to submit an entry to Formula 1 in its new 'low-cost', budget-capped era in 2010, Bernie Ecclestone has now revealed that there are in fact two American teams battling for grid slots next season.
There has been much scepticism within the paddock about the US GPE project – led by former Williams and Ferrari team manager Peter Windsor, and esteemed F1 and IndyCar designer Ken Anderson – with many questioning just whether it possesses the necessary substance and funding to back up its bold claims, and suggestions that a North Carolina HQ when all other competitors are based in Europe would simply be unworkable.
Now, however, it transpires that there is another interested party from across the Pond keen to take advantage of the FIA's controversial new £40 million budget cap, with speculation that leading IndyCar Series contenders Penske and Andretti Green Racing are the most likely candidates.
The former, indeed, has past form in F1, having started just over 30 races in the mid-1970s, with John Watson famously triumphing for Roger Penske's eponymously-named outfit in the 1976 Austrian Grand Prix held around the legendary Österreichring. AGR similarly has experience of life in the top flight – albeit of a rather different nature, following team principal Michael Andretti's brief and unhappy foray with McLaren in 1993.
“There's two American teams,” Formula One Management (FOM) commercial rights supremo Ecclestone is quoted as having said by international news agency Reuters
. “It's super; it will be good to see some new faces. Something like that is always good.”
The last US team to try its hand at F1 was the Carl Haas and Teddy Mayer-spearheaded Lola-Beatrice operation in the mid-1980s, with a best result of just fourth place and a mere six points from 19 starts, despite boasting the unquestioned talents of 1980 world champion Alan Jones and two-time grand prix-winner Patrick Tambay behind the wheel.
There are three available spaces on the 2010 starting grid for new entrants, with others to have expressed an interest including a David Richards-led Prodrive/Aston Martin/UAE-branded bid, iconic British marque Lola, GP2 Series front-runners iSport International, Mark Gallagher's newly-crowned A1GP Champions Team Ireland and former Honda satellite squad Super Aguri.