The failed USF1 project may have succeeded with better timing, less political wrangling in F1 and a willingness to abandon its desire to be a true American entry.
That is the admission of co-owner Peter Windsor who, along with respected engineer Ken Anderson, was forced to call time on the entire programme as it disintegrated around them in the build-up to the start of the 2010 season. Reports at the time suggested that there were but a handful of employees, no sponsorship and very little in the way of a car, but Windsor insists that things could have been very different.
"We had our backer, we knew what we were going to do, we felt we had everything in place," he told the BBC
, referring to March 2009, a full year before the team was due to make its race debut, "If you look back at 2009, it was a year of economic recession [but], putting that to one side, it was a year of imploding in F1. We had FOTA, the FIA and FOM, the commercial rights holder, all in dispute and that came to a head at the British GP in July 2009.
"Until that point, we were unable to do anything, we couldn't exist as an entity at all. We were then confirmed as an entered team in July, but that was when there were still two championships. They only came together in September and that was when we effectively pressed go.
"At that moment, if we had gone to, perhaps, Lola, or a company like that who was building cars, I think we would have been okay, but the premise of our team, the foundation of our team was, one, to be a national team and, two, to do our car in America. And I think, if we had a year, we could have done it but, in the time we had, it was a big ask to do a factory alone in America, let alone to try and build a car and put a team of people together. We were still hiring people from existing F1 teams in November and December, [and] that was really late."
Windsor also revealed that he now regretted the decision to follow through with the aim of producing a car entirely conceived and built in America.
"We didn't start a 2010 car until too late, in retrospect, but we didn't know it at the time," the former Williams man conceded, "It was either the whole car or nothing at all. It was Ken's call and he said it would kill our team if we didn't build our own car. He would rather go down doing our own rather than race someone else's. I didn't agree with that."