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SEPTEMBER 30, 2002

More on the American Formula 1 team

The announcement of plans for an American Formula 1 team have been greeted with a certain amount of incredulity in Formula 1 circles. The fact that there are only five months to go before the start of the new season and no sign at all of anything having been done has resulted in most of the Formula 1 circus writing the whole idea off as a dream.

However, we have been in contact with the organizers of the team and, although publicity-shy, they have confirmed a few of the details of the planning. The project has been in existence for two and a half years and the problems encountered have been multiplied by the fact that the intention of the consortium is to base the team in the United States of America.

"The Formula 1 world assumes that operating an American team from America is the height of folly, financially prohibitive, logistically impossible and plain stupid," says someone close to the project. "If you step away from that mindset and assume that two and half years of planning have not been wasted we think that a US team is logistically and economically feasible and it is the only way to capture the US market. There is a ready market for F1 in the States. A recent tape-delayed broadcast of the Italian GP on US television drew virtually the same TV audience as the live broadcast of the much-hyped IRL season finale and five times the audience of the CART race from Rockingham.

"The Red Bull driver search is a terrific idea but no-one in the US cares if all you accomplish is to find another US driver for a non US team. A US team would be a one of a kind and as such it will 'own' the US market. Europeans make the US market much harder than it actually is."

Our sources say that one of those involved is Les Olson, who was formerly the commercial director of British American Racing.

We await more developments with interest.