Apparent demise of US F1 no surprise

March, 3, 2010
The US F1 team is done. Does this really surprise anyone?

If so, it shouldn't. There's a pattern in racing that goes like this:

Some group, usually with a well-known or well-connected person involved, announces it is starting a major racing team in a top league. Organizers list all kinds of grand plans, sometimes even including a driver you know.

And more often than not, these grandiose plans go sliding off the edge of a cliff and never materialize. Why? Because they don't have the money to do all the things they say they're going to do.

They hope by making a big public announcement, usually at a major race with lots of media present, they will get enough attention and interest that a major sponsor will step up and back the team.

It's the classic cart-before-the-horse situation. And most of the time, the horse never shows up to pull the load.

That's exactly what happened for Ken Anderson and Peter Windsor, the two men running the show at US F1.

Anderson applied this week to the FIA (Formula One's ruling body) to postpone its entry date until 2011. The FIA rejected that proposal, which was the correct decision.

The same problems US F1 has now will apply one year from now. The first red flag came at the beginning when US F1 announced the team would be based in Charlotte, N.C.

Charlotte? For a Formula One team? What's next? A Sprint Cup team based in London?

It's a nice idea to have an American team, but it doesn't make much sense to have team headquarters here for a series that races only once a year on the entire continent (Montreal in June) and doesn't have single U.S. event.

The only way for this team to have any significance in the United States was to hire an American driver, something the US F1 guys didn't do.

In January, they named Argentinean Jose Maria Lopez as driver for the 2010 season, which we now know isn't happening. And that announcement was made in Argentina.

This situation also reflects badly on Formula One, which listed an entry for the 2010 season that never was solid and had to be withdrawn two weeks before the season opener in Bahrain.

The lesson here is to always be skeptical of team announcements in racing before the money is in place to make it a reality.

Oh, by the way. I plan to start my own racing team next week. All I need is a sponsor, a driver, some equipment, employees and a race shop. But it's really going to be great.

Terry Blount

ESPN Staff Writer



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