USF1 hopes for
second chance in
Posted 5h 46m ago
By Nate Ryan, USA TODAY
USF1 won't race in Formula One this season, but the
concept of an American team in the series might not
The team has lobbied the FIA to defer its entry into
the series until 2011, but the sanctioning body for F1
hasn't decided on its lineup for next year. Bob
Varsha, the play-by-play announcer for F1 on TV's
Speed channel, said the Charlotte-based team has the
infrastructure to succeed if granted a spot in 2011.
USF1 was started by Ken Anderson and Peter Windsor,
a former F1 pit reporter for Speed, and its chief
investor was Chad Hurley, a YouTube founder. In a
Wednesday e-mail to USA TODAY, Windsor said USF1
hadn't shut down. "There's a lot going on behind the s
cenes about which we have been asked not to
comment" by the FIA, he said.
"They've built a tremendous manufacturing capability.
They've just run out of time," said Varsha, who added
the team likely underestimated the F1 approval
process and the logistics of a start-up team. "If they
get another chance, they would run their business
differently. They need organizational expertise. That
might be missing at USF1."
Varsha couldn't understand why Formula One boss
Bernie Ecclestone "told every microphone he sees that
USF1 wouldn't make it," he said. "This team allows F1
enhanced exposure to the world's biggest market."
Just Marketing CEO Zak Brown, whose company
represents several sponsors in Formula One, said the
possible demise of USF1 didn't hurt F1's chances of
an American presence. The series hasn't raced here
since the 2000-07 run of the U.S. Grand Prix in
Indianapolis, but Brown said he thought a race could
return in the next five years if its exorbitant
sanctioning fees were curbed. Brown estimated it cost
a minimum of $20 million to hold an F1 race.
"F1 is interested in America," he said. "The problem is
the financial model, because it calls for a government
subsidy. It'll have to either be privately funded or
people will have to make sacrifices on the fee. This is
the world's largest economy. You'd get that money
back tenfold through TV ratings and bringing
sponsors in the sport."
Four wide: Top Fuel driver Larry Dixon isn't sure how
the NHRA's Four-Wide Nationals will play out March
25-28 at zMax Dragway. "The only thing I've ever
done four wide is a track meet in high school," Dixon
said during a promotional stop at the Concord, N.C.,
Dixon said putting drivers four abreast would alter
the dynamics of a sport whose side-by-side races
often foster gamesmanship. "I'm sure at first everyone
will play nice," he said.
Open-wheel hiatus: The Atlantic Championship, a
feeder series that has produced IndyCar, NASCAR and
Formula One drivers over the last 36 years, will not
run in 2010 because of a shortage of team