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Another US F1 team makes an entry as ART GP pulls out
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Another US F1 team makes an entry as ART GP pulls out
Posted By: James Allen  |  08 Jul 2010   |  7:15 am GMT  |  44 comments

A year after the ill fated USF1 programme to get an American Formula 1 team, the Cypher Group has officially submitted an entry to be the 13th team on the grid next year.

They will be competing for the place alongside ex-Benetton team manager Joan Villadelprat’s Epsilon Euskadi and Stefan GP. The conditions are tough though, with ART GP deciding this week not to submit an entry. The winning bid will be announced in a few weeks time.

“We have officially submitted our candidature and hope that we will shortly be selected by the FIA as the 13th entry in the 2011 FIA Formula One World Championship” said a Cypher team statement; “We aspire to bring America’s red, white, and blue back into Formula One. ”


American driver Jonathan Summerton is linked to the project. He drove for the US A1 GP team in the 2007 and 2008 seasons, winning the race in Shanghai.

There have been stories that the Cypher entry may also bring the Playboy brand into Formula 1.

On Cypher’s website is a message which must have been there since before the entry was submitted, ” We will only place an entry to compete in the 2011 F1 world championship should we fully achieve the budget we believe is necessary to do this properly. We are not in this to embarrass America, the fans or ourselves. We simply want to give America the shot it deserves. We can do it.”


Cypher rises from the ashes of the USF1 project, with some of the same personnel involved, but not Ken Anderson or Peter Windsor. USF1 was fined and banned recently by the FIA, but this ban does not extend to the personnel involved, only the team.

Although there is set to be a US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas in 2012 and Formula 1 is still talking about trying to establish a second venue in order to crack America. It is going to be very tough for a new team next season as the 107 % qualifying rule is now back, so there is a strong chance that they won’t even be on the grid for the first few races, especially given the tight time frames from now. If ART GP, which has a track record of the highest quality in GP2 and F3 spanning many years, has decided that it’s a tall order then what hope have the rest of these teams got?

After the US F1 debacle and the struggles of Hispania Racing, funding is sure to be a key consideration when the FIA makes its choice.

I don’t know much about Cypher, but will be finding out more over this weekend in Silverstone.

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44 Comments
  1. Tony says:

    a better name & logo would go a long way to help credibility

  2. Stephen Kellett says:

    The first thing they can go is hire a decent graphic artist to design a decent logo. That logo is about the same level you would get if you hired me (a non artist) to do you a logo. Its rubbish.

    I hope this isn’t another US Farce 1 in the making.

  3. Frenchie says:

    With Geoff Willis on board, Hispania is actually not doing too badly considering they were close to not go racing at all this year before Calabrante saved them from finanacial abysses. What is surprising, is that Virgin Racing is behind them in the constructor championship.

    Have any of the new teams be over 107% of Q3 this season? Despite Ferrari’s complaints, I thought it was 104-105% since the beginning of the year but I might be wrong.

    From the three names mentioned, I think Epsilon Euskadi has the best shot at being the 13th team as I don’t think Stefan GP has any ties left with Toyota.

    1. Michael Grievson says:

      I think Hispana were over 107% once or twice.

  4. Stuart fenton says:

    There are 3 spots for new teams really. One completely new slot, and the existing Sauber and HRT teams. Sauber already have a close relationship with ferrari? Maybe they will become ART Sauber?

  5. Ray says:

    So we may well face another 6 months of “we’re better than you, our car is going to lap yours on the first lap because European engineers have holidays! You’re all lazy and true excellence only comes from America! USA! USA! USA! USA!!!”

    Followed by 3 months of “But that’s so unfaiiiiir! You’re picking on us expecting us to actually *make* a car! It’s so biased against us because you hate us for our freedom! You have to let us join half way through the season with no penalty for breach of contract, or the terrorists win! USA! USA! USA! USA!!!”

    for the love of God, Ferrari, you moan enough about being limited to just 2 cars – follow the Red Bull lead and submit a B team. Save us from another year of nonsense.

  6. James says:

    Well, at least we can see they haven’t blown their budget on graphic design!

    1. Henry says:

      Haha, unless that is an indication of the flair and imagination of the employees!

  7. iceman says:

    Is this Austin GP really going to happen? Or is there set to be a US GP in Austin in the same sense that there was set to be a British GP at Donington this weekend?

  8. Christian Rose says:

    Fantastic news, always been a follower of Jonathan and talk to him regularly and definitely deserves his big break in F1.

  9. PW says:

    I really, really hope it works this time. F1 needs the US. I was excited at the prospect of USF1, sadly the management was all talk and no trousers, sheer incompetence. Let’s hope these guys aren’t the same.

  10. Bill Day says:

    I still get a chuckle when I think of F1 banning a team that never showed up and didn’t even really exist.

  11. Rick M. says:

    More than likely to be just the usual US Formula 1 Dream of the Week. It seems stories crop up regularly and never amount to more than the hype. All it ever does is raise hope, and keep F1 on the media radar, which is perhaps all it’s ever meant to do.

    At this late date, the only way to put together a car would be if it were the customer variety that Luca Montezemolo wants. Which makes it suspicious even more, when the team quotes it wants the red-white and blue back on the F1 grid. That scheme is just what was mentioned re the Ferrari customer car.

    Then we have Jean Todt’s visit to the US, just prior to this bit of news. Is it do the due diligence that the FIA failed to do with USF1, meet Tavo Helmund, the guys in upper New York, politicians in Jersey? The Plot thickens.

    Though I can’t see how any other team will allow a 3rd and 4th Ferrari into the mix.

    1. Black Knight says:

      Todt’s Daytona visit – interesting quote to local media on the Austin GP. Jon stated that “Austin is a proposal, not a plan”. Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

  12. Ray says:

    James, do you agree with the re-introduction of the 107% rule?

    For me I think it may stifle whatever new team makes it onto the grid, and perhaps even the Hispana team if they do not take a step forward over the winter. If you look at this season, with the limited testing and timeframe in place the first few races were basically a test session for the new teams. If the new team next year is excluded from the race on account of the 107% rule how will this help their development?

    I also believe it puts their very existance in doubt as it will prove much more difficult to attract and retain sponsors if the team is unable to partake in the actualy races, many potential sponorsors may well wonder what’s the point in making the investment if their is no return on race days as the cars cannot take part.

    I would welcome your thoughts

    Ray

    1. Harvey Yates says:

      The reintroduction of the 107% rule was a bit of a knee-jerk following the Ferrari outburst with regards to how slow a backmarker was. Rather ironically, the backmarker had qualified will within the 107%.

      A non joined-up FIA regulation is the norm. It is a pitty they don’t have a ‘within 107% of good sense’ limit for new regs.

      The new team will, in all probability, struggle but then this would not harm the sport to any great extent. We would still have the current complement of teams.

      They, on the other hand, would have gained two days of testing, and without having to make films, on a genuine racing circuit.

      Going by what was said at the Fans’ Forum, I have a feeling that there might be a certain amount of pressure put on the FIA to lift the testing restrictions to an extent.

      Mind you, whether this would help the new teams is a moot point. I would suggest that one reason the three new teams are as close as they are to the established ones is the testing ban.

  13. Andy C says:

    Here we go again. If they get the entry it will all be about marketing potential of having a us entry.

    Glad to see they have a lot of the guys who made such a great hash of it the first time.

    If someone like chip ganassi or penske decided to do f1 I’d be ok with it, but this has the pootential to embarrass rather than boost the us.

    1. Rich C says:

      Agreed.

      Penske or Ganassi… or maybe Andretti would be about the only ones I’d have confidence in. However, they already have full plates.

      As well you’d have to consider who’s major US sponsors felt additional European exposure would benefit them.

  14. Stephan Roux says:

    Surely Stefan GP proved they had enough wherewithall to get a car on track and compete…

    Are they not the front runners this time? or does the FIA just not want them?

  15. William Keller says:

    With a general ban on testing, new teams will have a difficult time meeting the 107% rule. How about a throwback to the glory days of Formula One…run several non-championship races during the season. This would allow teams to try out new bits & pieces at low risk, and teams could decide their participation based on their resources. Also, this would let the championship stay at the classic circuits while adding several new circuits/countries to the mix.

    William K, Texas

  16. Spenny says:

    I don’t see that there were any credible employees at USF1 to form a team around – no ashes to arise from. Lotus showed that the real way to get into F1 is to build a team around those experienced in F1.

    From the forum, Martin Whitmarsh’s comments about the brains of F1 is relevant. I don’t think that those looking at F1 from America really appreciate that in F1 the devil really is in the detail. It is no real surprise that the most successful of the new teams at the moment is Lotus, made up of people with an F1 background, who are not trying to be clever and re-invent how to do F1.

    The big mistake that USF1 made was in assuming that in F1 the old teams were set in their ways and did things because that was how they were done. The real difference in F1 is that every part of the car is always being reviewed and challenged – if there is a better way to do things within the rules, the chances are it will get spotted.

    Any US team really committed to F1 would need to get hold of a core of experienced F1 talent, and over time migrate to home grown skills – if they can find the right people to train.

    1. Brent says:

      Spenny, I don’t think the problem with USF1 was the lack of good technical people, it was the lack of good management. The US certainly has the capable people, Penske, Gnassis, Newman Haas are all great teams, because the management attracts great technical people.

      1. Spenny says:

        I think the American racing teams have competent engineers, but US motor racing does not give the engineering challenges that F1 does, so the cream of American engineering will be found in aerospace and other industries rather than in motor racing. Some of the F1 guys are the best in any industry.

        I don’t disagree with you about the management, but if you watch the USF1 interviews with the engineering staff on their web site (which is amazingly still up) the guys they interviewed did not come across as having anything special about them – the opposite in fact.

      2. Brent says:

        I can’t imagine that a startup team attracts the best technical, but a propaganda piece by a poorly run company, about to fail, really doesn’t put the employees in a fair light. You certainly weren’t going to a Newey on a USF1 you tube video.

  17. Joss says:

    I think a good time to enter F1 would be when the regs change. Whoever gets selected is going to have 6 months tops to design and build their car. Even a manufacturer would struggle with this timeframe, but an independent with no previous experience hasn’t got a hope in hell of anything but the very back of the grid next year.

    Why don’t the FIA push entry back one year? ie. So July 2010 entries would be for the 2012 season? New teams would then have 18 months to develop a new car. They’d still be slow but maybe not quite so much.

  18. Kevin says:

    Hi James
    In your midterm report on the lower end of the grid you said you weren’t sure what Toro Rosso was doing on the grid, but made no such comment about the tractors behind it (Lotus, HRT, Virgin). Maybe you’re a little too close to F1 management, and have fallen into line with their philosophy of boosting the number of teams without regard for the competitiveness of those teams (or for safety, which Webber’s crash with Kovaleinen highlights). The re-introduction of the 107% rule couldn’t come soon enough, so that we can get on with real racing and discard these no-hopers whose only desire is to get some TV airtime, because they are barely participating in the races. Very few fans of F1, and probably none at all, give a damn about those teams and regard them only as an obstacle to proper Formula 1 racing.
    Oh, regarding this new US F1 team (I’m sorry, I can barely stifle a laugh when I see the words “new US F1 team”), pull the other one please. And doesn’t it strike you as strange that an American team would choose the name Cypher, a chiefly British variant of cipher:
    Etymology: Middle English, from Medieval Latin cifra, from Arabic ṣifr empty, cipher, zero, meaning one that has no weight, worth, or influence : nonentity

    1. James Allen says:

      No I meant that I don’t really see why Red Bull pays the money for Toro Rosso, it’s a driver development vehicle basically, but I wasn’t saying they aren’t doing a decent job

      1. Kevin says:

        Thanks for clarifying, James. I understand what you are saying. It also amazes me that Red Bull can invest so much in F1 – they must be selling such a lot of caffeinated drinks!
        Thank you very much for your insights and your commitment to the sport we love.

    2. Jason C says:

      The (current) new teams are within 107% and so would still be on the grid.

      1. Kevin says:

        HRT would not start the British GP if the 107% rule were in place, which would already improve the race.

    3. Frenchie says:

      I disagree with your point on non-hopers. I believe Lotus Racing (and Virgin to some extent) are a worthy addition to the grid.

      Lotus will turn up in Silvertsone with a proper F1 car that looks more 2010 than 2002 (cue the radiators). Tony Fernandes and Mike Gascoyne are keeping themselves close to the fans via Twitter which is great. I’d say it looks like Force India all over again, just a bit more savvy.

  19. Tombstone says:

    I note with interest that Speed mentioned that ‘Anderson F1′ is a prospective entrant for 2011. Does Ken take the fia for suckers?

  20. mayhemfunkster says:

    In all honesty, it all comes down to a solid monetary foundation. If Tony Fernandes keeps behind Lotus then they will eventually succeed. And the same is true of any US F1 project (not to be confused with USF1…)

    If they have a solid finanical base then the enginnering and design talent will follow, the drivers, and it all looks rosy.

    That’s if US engineering arrogance doesn’t get in the way. They can build things as well as anyone else but to ignore F1 philosophy is silly. We do it this way for a reason!

    1. Tony says:

      I don’t think money will be an issue. They are selling decals of their logo in 10-packs for $25.00
      If you find that a bit rich, you can pick 1 up for $3.00
      :)

  21. Robert McKay says:

    If ART were the front runners and aren’t any longer, surely Epsilon Euskadi are the new front runners. They’ve actually got, y’know, facilities, and experience, and stuff.

    I do like this, though: “Cypher rises from the ashes of the USF1 project, with some of the same personnel involved, but not Ken Anderson or Peter Windsor. USF1 was fined and banned recently by the FIA, but this ban does not extend to the personnel involved, only the team.”

    So does that mean Ken Anderson and Peter Windsor can draw up a new logo, form a team called ToasterF1 and make a bid for slot 13 without the FIA saying “hey, wait a minute…” ? :-D

  22. Brace says:

    Why can’t they just be a team?
    Why do they have bang on and on about starts and stripes and all that?
    They all seem to be misplacing their A1GP entries into F1 mailbox.

  23. Mr G says:

    The story is repeating itself.
    Despite all the big teams were against Max Mosley budget cap, it seems that once again Formula 1 has failed to attract the best team outside F1.
    ART GP has the credential to be in F1 but, unfortunately, hasn’t got the financial mussles or the manufacturer capabilities to produce a competitive car in time for the start of the next season.
    ART GP has a very clear idea how to race, they only race if they can be self sufficient financially and therefore they are not able to enter F1.
    This should ring alarm bells to the rest of the grid and in particular to the people organising the F1 circus.
    If the TV companies will start to develop and release more information about the race with mobile phone Apps, data on the web and so on, less people will actually spectate the races at the venues with a increasing number of races having difficulties in selling tickets.
    This will generate less revenue therefore less money will feed into the teams and more money will be needed to feed the budgets.
    It will reach a point where less teams will be able to afford to be competitive.
    And we don’t want F1 becoming like football where the multimillionaires will be able to have a F1 team such a toy or extravagance.

  24. Jodum5 says:

    The person who decided to name the venture “Cypher Group” needs to get his/her head examined.

  25. Andy C says:

    Just imagine the pit girls if they bring playboy in with them ;-)

    I would vote for them just on that basis :-)

    I bet James and martin brundle will be interviewing them at every race ;-)

  26. Nick F says:

    I don’t think a new team can come in and do anything accept have a frustrating and slightly embarrassing time. They will be in the same situation as this years new teams. How are they supposed to design a car, get funding and personnel for a 2011 season which is less than a year away? They have 9 months now. That’s not a lot of time.

    I think they should have to demonstrate good funding for at least 2 years and then test for the 2011 season. They should probably be allowed to test on Fridays at some of the race events.

  27. LOL says:

    That logo is just TERRIBLE!

  28. Rich C says:

    I wonder if the FIA deliberately are leaving it too late? Sort of applying a “stress test” to the new applicants?
    Or are they just clueless [mod]?

  29. Lockster says:

    Hi James,

    Any news on whether Chad Hurley has any involvement in this entry?

    I got the feeling that he and his advisor (can’t recal his name off the top of my head) felt that they had unfinished business after the USF1 debacle and that they were keen to get another credible effort off the ground.

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