One of the men steering the nascent USF1 project towards fruition insists that, despite the world sinking slowly into recession, it is the perfect time to be embarking on a Formula One adventure.

Speaking exclusively to Radio, Peter Windsor claimed that the business model being set out for the Charlotte-based USF1 operation was more in keeping with the cost-conscious future that Formula One is aiming for, believing that the pinnacle of the sport is likely to ride out the worst of the economic crisis better than some of its rivals.

"Why F1 is an easy question to answer really," Windsor admitted, "It's the world's biggest sport - bigger than the World Cup soccer, bigger than the Olympics, bigger than the Super Bowl. It's got 600m viewers annually and it's beautifully organised - a world championship that begins at the beginning of the year and ends at the end of the year, every year. No other sport has that.

"It has a wonderful team franchise system and a formidable business plan, courtesy of Mr Ecclestone, involving co-ordination of the money derived from television rights, hospitality, freight, signage etc - all of which fuels the Formula One industry - and it's relatively recession-proof in that a lot of the teams are therefore not dependent on sponsorship for their income - unlike, say, NASCAR. It is just the world's greatest sport and that's why we want to be in F1."

Having seemingly eschewed the chance to acquire one of the sport's failing operations, USF1 would be the first 'all-new' grand prix operation since Super Aguri - although Windsor maintains that the Japanese operation was little more than a group fashioned to run provided equipment, rather than a bona fide F1 team.

"If you're going to be doing a start-up team, you need to have something that's compelling," he reasoned, "To do a start-up team that is perfectly in tune with the current economic crisis - in other words, a team that is going to be lean, mean and operate well within the parameters of the F1 financial model - is quite an interesting project.

"Having said that, however, Ken Anderson and I started this project four or five years ago - long before Armageddon was even thought of - and our plan was always to have a lean, mean team to prove that you could do a Formula One team for well under the operating numbers."

Proving established F1 assumptions wrong appears to be a key motivator for Windsor and co-principal Anderson, with low budgets, a US base and American driving talent all high on the list of ingredients. However, unlike other recent newcomers to the grand prix scene, the pair are determined to do what it takes to be contenders.

"All we can do is follow our heart and our passion," Windsor claimed, "We want to build an F1 team, we want to do it differently, we want to prove that a car can be designed and built in the United States and compete on the world stage - and then, beyond that, we want to win. There's no doubt about that.

"Ken's won a lot of races and a lot of championships, I've been fortunate enough to be a part of F1 teams that have won championships as well, and that is our goal. There's no question that we want to win, but we want to win with a nice, small, compact team, with a minimum of people.

"That's going to be the modus operandi of this F1 team - we're going to be small, lean, mean, but we're going to have a lot of fun, and always have smiles on our faces - which is probably going to make us very different from most other F1 teams."

While promising to reveal more significant details about the programme at an official announcement next week, Windsor admitted that USF1 had received a warm welcome from the two main organising entities overseeing the sport, but stopped short of confirming whether or not the team had gone as far as requesting an entry for the 2010 season.

"That's something we can talk about on 24 February," he insisted, "but the response from the FIA and FOM has been fantastic, very supportive from both sides. Both of them have known about this project for some time now."

Look out for an exclusive Q&A with Peter Windsor on Radio next week........



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