One of the elements of USF1's planned 'announcement' that is certain to attract attention is the nomination, if any, of drivers for the programme.

While naming names for a team yet to turn a wheel, and unlikely to do so in anger for another year, is, in itself, a bit ambitious, co-principal Ken Anderson's desire to use American talent has caused ripples in a world where the USA's recent involvement has been next to nothing.

The last two Americans to make it to the top of the international ladder, Michael Andretti and Scott Speed, both failed to see out their term and, while there is clearly talent on the other side of the Atlantic, the European-based teams tend to focus more readily on those displaying it under their noses.

Since Anderson's proclamation that the USF1 project intended to use US drivers, a number of names - both high and low profile - have been thrown into the mix, ranging from media darling Danica Patrick to Euro-domiciled Charlie Kimball, but one driver has clearly struck a chord with Anderson's co-founder, Peter Windsor, and is increasingly being connected to a role with the nascent team.

"One obvious thing that came out of [America's involvement in A1GP] was Jonathan Summerton, who is very, very good," Windsor told, "To win at Shanghai, as he did, was very impressive.

"We know that he's up there with the Adam Carrolls of this world - and Adam is extremely quick and should be in F1. We also know that Jonathan is a Sebastien Buemi-paced driver because he was Buemi's team-mate in German F3, so he's a guy that's obviously got a massive amount of potential - but it shows how Americans are at the moment that, in one magazine, he's not even in the top twelve American drivers, and behind some drag racers and hot rod racers.

"But, to my mind, if you've won an international event like Shanghai A1GP, you've got to be very, very good - and Jonathan Summerton is very good."

Windsor, like Anderson before him, would not be drawn on the identity of any potential candidate for a seat at USF1, insisting that there was a lot of potential on offer.

"It's not a question of 'relying' on US talent, it's a question of grooming US talent and bringing it in to F1," he maintained, "Again, it's proving, like everything else, that there are American products out there that are capable of competing with the best in the world.

"I think, right now, that there are several young American drivers who are right up there with the Sebastien Buemis and Adrian Sutils of the world, for example. And, if we can get them to that level, for sure we can take them to the next level and beyond that. There's been no effort, no schooling and no obvious path for American drivers into F1 for... well, forever really.

"If you look at the drivers that have come across, they've usually broken the mould and done a very good job or, perhaps, suffered as a result of a lack of support. We intend, and we hope, to be able to bring through a whole new tranche of American drivers - there will be another Lewis Hamilton out there, but he will be American."

Speed advanced to F1 as a result of his involvement with the much-vaunted Red Bull Driver Search, which was designed to groom American talent for F1, but fell foul of a difficult working relationship at Scuderia Toro Rosso and high-tailed it back home and a place in the sponsor's NASCAR team. While admitting that Speed may feature on any potential shopping list, along with the likes of Patrick and Marco Andretti, Windsor also revealed that USF1 would, eventually, like to establish its own ladder for talent to make it to the top flight.

"Maybe not like the Red Bull team, but we do hope to support a lot of drivers through the ranks and have them as part of USF1 at various levels of their career and give them genuine support, coaching and encouragement," he confirmed, "I think that that is something that a lot of F1 teams do quite well, but we're going to take that several steps further in the way we build a ladder for American drivers.

"I think Jackie Stewart had quite a good programme when he had his own F1 team, a ladder to stardom, and, if we can achieve something along that line, but confine it to the American stream, then I think we'll be doing very well."

While not establishing himself as a fan of the way Speed went about his F1 adventure, Windsor makes no secret of the fact that his involvement with Toro Rosso had a galvanising effect on F1 interest in the USA.

"I think Scott under-achieved," he stated, "He had an enormous possibility there, and had a massive amount of money spent on him, but it never really went well for either party. He's a very quick driver, but it never really gelled in any dimension, and that was a shame.

"If you look back at it, though, Scott had a massive amount of support in America, even at the levels he was operating at, so I think it goes show how much enthusiasm there is for F1 in the United States."



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