Peter Windsor has revealed that the number one target on F1 2010 newcomer USF1's radar regarding the driving line-up is NASCAR favourite Kyle Busch – who he is confident will be similarly keen to join forces once he sees the team's potential, and who he contends is a future world champion in the top flight.
Busch is a big name Stateside, having achieved no fewer than 58 victories in NASCAR circles – 16 in the headlining Sprint Cup, 28 in the Nationwide Series and 14 in the Camping World Truck Series. Whilst single-seaters are undeniably a very different beast to the stock cars to which the Nevada native is accustomed, Windsor – one of the two co-founders of USF1 – is convinced that the 24-year-old possesses the necessary talent to not only make the switch, but also make the grade.
“I've watched him a lot and have massive respect for him,” the SPEED TV
commentator and former Williams F1 and Ferrari team manager told USA Today
, confessing to following Busch's career 'on a daily basis almost', even though he has yet to personally meet him. “I know people who know him very well. I believe Kyle can win a world championship in F1. I think he's got exactly the right talent, the right approach. I'd love to see him in an F1 car.
“If he wants to jump in our car next year to do some demonstrations here in the States, he's very welcome to do that – and if he wanted to drive for us in 2011, we'd certainly be keen on that. I think there'll be a lot of speculation about that as time goes on.
“If I was Kyle, I'd be saying to myself, 'yeah, those guys all talk the talk, let's see what they do, let's see what the car's like, let's see what the race shop is like'. Fair enough. We're going to do a good job. I know when Kyle gets to see it, I'm pretty sure it'll get his pulse rate going.”
Windsor has already held meetings with Busch's management, and the Joe Gibbs Racing star himself – contracted to his current team until the end of 2010 – has expressed some interest in F1. He was due to test a Toyota in Japan towards the end of 2007, but the outing never ultimately materialised.
“It's definitely something I wouldn't shoot down,” the Las Vegas-born ace acknowledged. “If I could win a championship [in NASCAR] in the next two or three years, then I wouldn't mind going doing [F1] for a few years and coming back. I think I'll still be young enough that if I could win a championship by 25, I could go run F1 for a few years and be back [in NASCAR] by 28.”
Windsor and fellow team principal Ken Anderson have been open about their desire to employ an all-homegrown line-up on the driving strength if possible – and if not in 2010, then certainly in the future – and to that end, half a dozen young Americans have been selected to be flown to Europe for a training programme, with the aim of revealing the successful candidates' identities by the end of the year.
In the meantime, the Englishman hinted that Marco Andretti – mooted as a possible USF1 driver in the immediate aftermath of the Charlotte-based outfit's launch earlier this year – is probably not yet ready to follow in his illustrious grandfather and father's footsteps in forging a new career across the Pond, whilst he doubts whether IndyCar Series poster girl Danica Patrick 'would want to drive for us'.