More on 10th and 11th F1 teams – Updated

Bruno Senna - On his way to F1 after all ?

Bruno Senna - On his way to F1 after all ?

Grandprix.com reported yesterday that the announcement that the team formerly known as Honda will be going ahead may be made soon. The yet to be named ex-Honda team is expected to be powered by Mercedes engines and Bruno Senna should come on board as Button’s team mate. The main backing is to come from former Williams’ partners Petrobras and Honda itself (for 2009 season only probably). Petrobas’ switch from Williams to Honda has been rumoured long before Honda announced their withdrawal from F1. The Petrobras connections was probably also a reason behind Honda testing Brazilian drivers Bruno Senna and Lucas di Grassi last November. According to grandprix.com additional finances are expected from one or two Senna’s personal sponsors (quick look at Bruno Senna’s personal website reveals names such as Embratel, Santander, Carglass, Hublot, Hilton Racing, Cavalera Jeans). We still have to wait and sea how relaible will grandprix.com’s sources prove to be this time. (Update: Other reports suggest that the financing has been secured but so far only for first four races of the season – see this article at The Guardian)

USF1 logo

USF1 - Looks like they mean business

Only about a week ago rumours broke out about new F1 team being formed in the United States with intention to enter F1 from 2010 season. I was not the only one having serious doubts about that story. But less than 10 days on it does look like the people behind this team mean business. Here is what Peter Windsor had to say to Speed TV:

“Ken Anderson and I have been looking at the possibility of designing and building an F1 car in the USA for the past four years” said the former Williams and Ferrari team manager. “So I guess the real surprise is that we were able to keep it quiet for so long. The news broke this week but the real announcement is going to be live on SPEED, potentially on Feb 24.”

“Since the leak, the response has been overwhelming – and we’re speaking of millions of fans here, plus people in the industry and the media. Of course there will be the usual cynics but right now it feels as though we’ve got maybe ten people against us and 10 million for us.”

“Of course it’s not easy raising money in the recession. Having said that, the recession is all about adapting to changing times and re-setting the boundaries. That is what we are going to with USF1 – and that is what the FIA are doing with the F1 rules. We know that we’re primarily in the entertainment business and so every aspect of USF1 will reflect that.”

Thanks to Sidepodcast tweet I found and read Dieter Rencken’s article at autosport.com that makes lots of sense of the USF1 project. I do recommend reading the whole story, the access to the article however requires subscription. Here is summary of some interesting points Rencken made:

- While Charlotte offeres all the technical facilities (incluidng the Wind Shear wind tunnel) required to build an F1 car the university in Clemson (an hour’s drive from Charlotte) is first-class and offers all the necessary facilities required to undertake aerodynamic and vehicle dynamic calculations. The Wind Shear is believed to be the best wind tunnel in the world.

- The F1 calendar these days comprises of three parts – four Asian flyaways, nine races in Europe, a final four flyaways. This makes the logistics for USF1 simple – design and build in the USA, move to Europe for testing, four flyaways in a row, back to Europe, final block of four flyaways, end of season. Not that much difference compared to European based teams

- The US is likely the most important market for BMW, Mercedes, Toyota and Ferrari. With no USGP currently on calendar association with USF1 team may be what the F1 remaining car manufacturers may actually fight for. Chances of USF1 team eventually getting engines and some technical support for free are not small.

- And then there are Peter Windsor and Ken Anderson

The official USF1 team announcement (as mentioned in the interview for Speed TV) is expected on February 24.

Update: Daniel from F1Bloggen spotted that there is a countdown to the launch running now at USF1 website.

11 Comments Post a Comment
  1. TimmieNo Gravatar says:

    Heard the same thing about Honda in an apparent “rumour” e-mail from Ross Brawn going around to his employees. Either way if it means they will be on the grid and Button and Senna get a go this year then that is good!
    For USF1 it only spells good news as it will mean we increase the team numbers and score ourselves another team on the grid for 2010. Hey, Mosley won’t be far off his 12 team dream then either would he? lol

  2. KotenokNo Gravatar says:

    That’s a positive way to saying yes F1 still is what it was!! Having newcomers means that there’s not that big fear that manufacturers in F1 will try to eat them by its way to getting performance, and that thanks to budget caps and standardized parts… Unbelievable it works for now!! Well, my optimism today may be raised because today is a sunny day and warm, but anyway that’s good news definitely :) I’m impressed how there is people believing to enter in F1 during these recession times with budget diet, crisis may not mean much for some people which has enormous incomes, but anyway F1 is not a 100% future inversion.

    Kotenoks last blog post..F1Wolf left a comment for azril deadman

    • F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

      as Peter Windsor says – the recession is all about adapting to changing times and re-setting the boundaries. I am going to frame these words and hang them above my desk in the office :-)

      • KotenokNo Gravatar says:

        Spanish people use to argue about him, because of the “fabulous” words dedicated to Alonso last years… Well, I do not, I think he’s pretty wise and clever, did good work in F1 teams management and is a good journalist nowadays. Also his devotion towards F1 is clear, I don’t think that he’s a kind of man that will disappoint us. About US team… I will want to see them with rather success, but I also will want that they’re beatten many times!! HAHA

        Kotenoks last blog post..F1Wolf left a comment for azril deadman

  3. bmwf1guyNo Gravatar says:

    In the story about Honda, Ecclesone is rumored to have put in some money himself. Now that’s interesting because if true, Ecclestone will then be part of FOTA.

    bmwf1guys last blog post..Theissen and Mosley Talk KERS….hmm

  4. zblkhwkNo Gravatar says:

    It makes sense to me that Bernie suports Honda to keep them alive long enough for a potential buyer to take the reigns. Same for Honda since the continuation of operations probably does not cost a lot if they hold off on intense engineering.

    I wouldn’t bank on anyone putting up any serious money for this season due to the worldwide economic downturn. 2010 is a better bet.

    While I am very happy to hear that a US based team is being discussed, we are still a long way from seeing anything concrete. Perhaps February 24th’s announcement will provide more details and a real ray of hope for us yanks.

  5. zblkhwkNo Gravatar says:

    The latest rumors give the team some more credence. Supposedy they already have 100 employees ready to go and a budget of $64MM. They also are now rumored to be looking at Danica Patrick as a potential driver, and are committed to having two Americans.

    I am sure the Danica thing is more about publicity, but talks like this surely have increased my interest and enthusiasm (not about Danica, about the team being a reality). A few names bantered about that have real possibility are Scott Speed, Marco Andretti, Graham Rahal, Conor Daly (son of Derek), and Josef Newgarden (the one name I know nothing about). I also understand Eddie Cheever’s son has been racing in Europe. There is also a lot of talk about some of the NASCAR boys such as Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, but I see no way any of them can make the jump to open wheel (although there is no doubt in my mind that several have the talent, unfortunately the learning curve is simply too long).

    • KotenokNo Gravatar says:

      I count among these drivers a name with a great value, Graham Rahal. I have not just the feeling that he is doing impressive things at his age, his abilities seems to be much superior than his father Bobby even.

  6. [...] the story came out that Senna will race and Petrobras with few Senna’s personal sponsors would help to fund the team. This has been a [...]

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