I’m going to get a bit off topic today, sorry, but the more I learn about this, the more I want to talk about it.
I am always a little skeptical of start up teams. The ones that I am especially skeptical of are the ones that don’t give out information, or give out too much information (you need to find a happy medium). And in recent weeks no start up team has gotten more coverage than the hazy USF1 team.
Let me start by saying I know they are still in the early planning stages and they don’t plan on going racing until next year. Likewise I know the partners in the organization, Ken Anderson and Peter Windsor are both very competent, experienced individuals.
That being said, I don’t have much confidence in their plan. In their presser the other day, which Speed went to great expense to cover, they lacked details and insisted they could do this with a budget in the neighborhood of $65 million.
For anyone who follows F1, they know teams like Ferrari and McLaren spend hundreds of millions of dollars to stay competitive. Toyota spent about $445 million in 2008. Wow! You could combine budgets from many large NASCAR teams and not reach that number. Red Bull spent $165 million on their F1 effort and they ran in the back.
Now this team plans to use $65 million dollars to travel and ship things around the world (they plan on utilizing a facility in Spain too). Windsor and Anderson say because of the current economy this is workable, but I tend not to believe them.
This whole throwing around names thing turns me off too. What is the point of throwing around names if you have not even contacted them? I could start up a team and say I was considering a big name driver to drive the car, but that doesn’t mean it is going to happen. It is artificial buzz (though I guess it worked because here I am talking about it).
Who knows what will happen with this team. I think it would be great for Charlotte’s motorsports rep and great for F1 to have an American presence. Ultimately though the whole thing seems a little gilded and artificial to me. If they are able to get this thing off the ground I think they will be so non-competitive they won’t be able to attract big name talent. My bet though is it never materializes.
Support ‘Suitcase’ Jake Elder
If you’re in the Charlotte area on March 14 and have some free time and money head up to the Memory Lane Auto Museum in Mooresville for the Legends Helping Legends event. This year’s event is helping to support ‘Suitcase’ Jake Elder who is battling dementia and expensive medical bills at a care facility in Statesville.
If you’re not familiar with Elder, he is one of most prolific crew chiefs in NASCAR history. At one point or another he worked with just about every driver and team in the garage; hence his nickname. Counted among his great list of accomplishments are two championships with David Pearson
The cost is $10 and all proceeds go to Elder. With admission you get to tour the museum and meet legends Harry Gant, Ned Jarrett, Buddy Baker, Don Tilley and Bobby Allison. For more information and directions check out Memory Lane’s web site.