USF1 sporting director Peter Windsor says work is on schedule for the Charlotte-based F1 team, despite the fact that the F1 newcomers have remained tight-lipped over preparations for the 2010 campaign.
While fellow newcomers Campos, Lotus and Virgin have all revealed at least one driver for the new season and have started to release information about plans for 2010, USF1 has come under fire for its silence in recent months – with doubts being raised as a result that the team won't make the season-opener in Bahrain.
However, speaking in a blog on the new USF1 website – which went live over the Christmas period – Windsor insisted that the team has been going about its business in private with work ongoing on the 2010 F1 machine.
“A number of people have asked me why we've been relatively quiet over the past six months or so,” Windsor wrote. “My answer is twofold - one, while the F1 politics were sorting themselves out there was very little that we could do or say. We're all in the entertainment business we call F1 and there seemed little or no point in adding to the situation from the perspective of a new team.
“Second, since August, we have been building our 'house'. Literally. We gutted the ex-Hall of Fame Racing/Joe Gibbs NASCAR shop, re-painted it, re-floored it, re-wired it, re-lit it and re-designed it. In three weeks. That's what you can do in Charlotte, North Carolina, where the economic impact of the motorsports industry approaches $6 billion per year. Ask and you will receive. Brilliant.
“Once we had a building (and even before we had one), we began to design parts and to hire our team. Again we were building. People wanted to know what was 'going on'. We replied that we were 'putting together the team'. It's a bit like building a new house. You don't invite all your neighbours and family around to see it at least until you've got the living room almost done, or a few plates in the kitchen.”
Windsor added that the team was following the same route as the Manor GP-run Virgin Racing team in using CFD to design its car and that the car wouldn't run in a windtunnel until it is complete.
“The same thing applies to our car, although we see this as a logical process for a new team rather than something about which to be particularly excited,” he said. “There's no doubt, though, that the rhythm of life is now different, having worked for both Williams and Ferrari I have no hesitation in saying that.
“Windshear is about 15 minutes drive from our headquarters and will prove to be invaluable when we start to aero-map the full-size car in January. We have no model shop, in other words – and none of the expenditure and complication of running a model shop. Our 'model' is the real car – and, as a new team in F1, we will be able to test at Windshear on numerous occasions in 2010.”
Windsor also stated that the team is likely to announce its driver line-up for 2010 'very soon'. Argentine driver Jose Maria Lopez has already revealed that he has a deal agreed 'in principle' with the team, although any deal to drive for the team is dependent on him securing the necessary financial backing.