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Windsor confident of luring 'future champion' Busch to USF1

22 October 2009

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'.

“I don't want to be arrogant about it,” Windsor stressed, “but I feel confident I can find, with the help of others, a Nigel Mansell in the United States. We can see the drivers who have the right touch, feel, suppleness and mental approach to be worthy of being a world champion.

“We'll try to get the best drivers we can for a sure footing in 2010, and I only say that because there are no American drivers, sadly, eligible to compete in F1 from an administrative point-of-view. You need an F1 superlicence. It's basically if you've won an international championship single-seater race, you get a superlicence. No American has done that the last twelve months. That's not an indictment of American motorsport, it's just the way it's gone.

“There's a lot of young American talent, and sooner or later you go [to] IRL or NASCAR. There doesn't seem to be a road into F1 for young Americans – so we'll be that team. Suddenly a young kid wins in Indy Lights, Nationwide or Trucks, now they'll think, 'USF1, I'll give those guys a ring, maybe they'll find a team I can drive for in Europe'.

“Marco needs to do well at what he's doing now before he takes next step; the wrong thing would be to give up what he's doing and try to do F1 under pressure. It's not because I don't rate him, but I don't think he'd be the right driver at the right time, or equally that we're the right team.

“I have respect for Danica, but it's not the right time for her to jump out of something going pretty well to go to F1, particularly [with] a new team. That's a big ask from her. She has such a good deal going on anyway.”

Meanwhile, it has emerged that former Williams, Benetton and McLaren ace Alex Wurz has ruled himself out of the running for one of the two available USF1 berths in 2010, preferring to focus on his sportscar duties with Peugeot.


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