Monday, December 14, 2009

USF1, where you at?

With the F1 off-season in full swing and new teams working away on their 2010 challengers there are a lot of things to look forward to in regards to them. Mercedes (formerly Brawn GP) may land 7 time World Champ Michael Schumacher, Lotus F1 has revealed their new logo and drivers, Campos Meta has had their car (monocoque)homologated by the FIA, Virgin seems to be acquiring more backers, so that leaves us with probably the most interesting, and probably most scuntized entry into the championship, USF1.

News on USF1 has been limited at best and fans around the world have moved to fill in the gaps in terms of speculation. However, some of it may be warranted. There has not be much movement on the driver selection although reports suggest that little known Jose Maria Lopez is in line for a drive provided he can come up with the necessary sponsorship dollars.

Long time F1 test driver, Alex Wurz was in discussions with the team but he confirmed in November that he was dropping out of the running amidst rumors that USF1 did not look ready to tackle Formula One. Plus, with the number of drivers with F1 experience still out there and no mention of other canidates one has to take pause. Moreover earlier this year, USF1 claimed that they would have a car ready in October, however they have yet to recieve an engine from Cosworth (presumably this is the case with the other Cosworth teams)and according to an ESPN Desportes report, there is now no real timetable on the car. Windsor is quoted as "we have no date, but hopefully it's before the first race in March. The virtual development is nearing completion and we are using the time to continue working on some elements, such as a diffuser."

However, on the bright side according to there is definitely an increase in activity at USF1 headquarters and with the backing of Youtube co-founder Chad Hurley, they seemed poised to be one of the very media friendly teams (particularly on the "new" media front) on the grid. Nonetheless, I do not want this team to be a PR machine on wheels with the performance envelope of Super Aguri in 2006.

Although it would be nice to have some real concrete info in terms of team progress, the lack of it is not proof that they will not be ready in time. However, if all the rumor and speculation comes to pass, USF1 not being on the grid or having the project cancelled/sold altogether would be incredibly damaging to the image of US racing and continue to perpetutate the myth that the US lacks technical innovation in motorsports.

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