The dust has barely had time to settle over the débâcle
that was USF1's painfully abortive bid to join the grand prix grid in F1 2010, but already it seems that the Charlotte-based operation has lit the blue touch paper – with another team from across the Pond revealing its intention to compete at the highest level from 2011.
The Cypher Group has confirmed that it has sent a 'letter of interest' regarding the currently available 13th spot in next year's field, according to GPUpdate.net
, with a workforce composed of 'experienced F1 engineers, designers and businessmen' eager to 'create a successful US-based F1 team', provided sufficient budget can be raised to 'do this properly' – bearing in mind that USF1's chief downfall was in fatally underestimating the cost of competing at the pinnacle of international motorsport.
No formal entry application has yet been made, and neither of USF1's co-founders Peter Windsor and Ken Anderson is understood to be involved in the nascent Cypher Group project, even though it too would be based in North Carolina, the heart of NASCAR country. The company affirmed that it 'recognises the significant challenges' of establishing a start-up team in such a short space of time and as such plans to 'utilise best-of-breed components throughout the car'.
“We will only place a full application should we achieve fully the budget we believe is required to do this properly,” stressed a spokesperson for the Cypher Group. “Even though we have some ex-USF1 members in our mix, Cypher Group was not born of disgruntled ex-USF1 employees.
“Cypher Group and its international members simply saw the potential of a US-based F1 team, [with] the disappointment of the fans and the dreams of many young American engineers of having a home team. Again, we recognise that the timeframe is not ideal, however we feel it has to be done now, due to the availability of a grid slot – but as we have stated, we will not submit a full entry unless we can fully achieve the budget we believe is required to do this properly.”
'Our aims are ultimately to be competitive and provide unrivalled access and interaction for our supporters whilst maintaining high standards of integrity and values, alongside creative out-of-the-box thinking,' added a statement published on motorsport.com
. 'In support of this strategy, Cypher is in contact with established manufacturers of Formula 1 racing cars and components. We are not in this to embarrass America, the fans or ourselves. We simply want to give America the shot it deserves.'
USF1 died a death after failing to make the start of the 2010 season and subsequently proving unable to convince the sport's governing body the FIA to either let it come on-board for the beginning of the European leg of the campaign in Barcelona or else defer its entry until next year.
There are also moves afoot to re-instate a US Grand Prix on the calendar, though whether this will return to Indianapolis – where the race was staged from 2000 until 2007 – or elsewhere remains to be seen. New York and New Jersey have both been mooted as potential alternative venues [see separate story – click here