USF1 co-founder Peter Windsor has all-but admitted that the F1 2010 newcomer is likely to have to rely upon an all-rookie, all pay-driving line-up for its maiden campaign in the top flight next year – but he insists that talent will play an important part in the equation too.
The North Carolina-based outfit – the subject of a considerable degree of derision, scepticism and speculation in recent months – is the only entrant due to line up on the starting grid for the Bahrain Grand Prix curtain-raiser in March that has yet to confirm either of its two drivers.
That has led to fears that the team will not make the field in Sakhir at all, and whilst Windsor brushes off such concerns, the Englishman has acknowledged that experienced hands such as Alex Wurz, Jacques Villeneuve and Pedro de la Rosa – all of whom have previously been linked with the Charlotte operation – are no longer under consideration.
Instead, the two drivers presently looking most likely to occupy the cockpits of USF1's Cosworth-powered challenger are Argentine touring car ace José María López and British star and former Honda young driver programme member James Rossiter, neither of whom have any great F1 pedigree but both of whom can bring sponsorship along with them, to the tune of a reputed $8 million in the case of the former.
“You could say it's an opportunity to give two young guys with a lot of talent a chance to come on-board with fresh, clean minds, grow with the team and operate within the system the team is going to work within,” SPEED TV
commentator and former Williams and Ferrari team manager Windsor told the official F1 website.
“All we can do is look at what is available. We are a start-up team, so we have to look at every opportunity. If there are companies out there that have associations with a driver because they have been supporting him for quite a while, or representing a country or whatever, obviously we have to look at that – providing the driver can do the job as well.”
Fellow 2010 newcomer Lotus F1 has signed up two grand prix-winners in the shape of Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen, whilst Virgin Racing has recruited Trulli's highly-regarded former Toyota team-mate Timo Glock.