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USF1 confirms European base in Spain
USF1 confirms European base in Spain
Posted By: James Allen  |  30 Oct 2009   |  3:41 pm GMT  |  41 comments

USF1, one of four new teams coming into the sport next season, has today confirmed what it has been saying privately for some time, that it will have its European base in Motorland, Aragon, in Spain.

“MotorLand Aragon is the ideal motorsports complex for US F1’s European operation,” said Peter Windsor, executive vice president and sporting director of US F1. “From the excellent location and weather, to the rich racing heritage and diverse track configurations, MotorLand provides America’s first Formula One team in more than 40 years with the perfect facility to manage the 2010 season and train for 2011 and beyond.”

Technology park is to the right

Technology park is to the right

US F1 will have its main R&D and manufacturing base in the US, but plans to have departments for testing, rebuilds, logistics and communications in Spain.

Motorland is almost equidistant between Barcelona and Madrid.

MotorLand has three circuit layouts, a technology park and kart track as well as other entertainment attractions. Like most modern circuits it was designed by Hermann Tilke, although McLaren F1 driver Pedro De la Rosa was a consultant on the project.

Testing is very limited nowadays in F1 and individual tests are not on the agenda any more. Over the winter and into next season there will be even less testing than 2008/09, with a young driver test in November and then nothing more until the new cars come out in February.

FOTA is considering having a group new car launch in late January early February to create a big media event and to save costs for all the teams. It is taking soundings at the moment on how this would work with media schedules. My own view is that the smaller teams would get less airtime and coverage than they do at the moment. The teams could do a lot more online, including launching cars.

What do you think? Should they leave it as it is with teams launching cars alone or should they do a single launch event? Let me have your comments and I will forward them to FOTA.

The Motorland website is at www.motorlandaragon.com/index.aspx?lang=GB

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I think a joint launch would be a great event for fans, bring what can be quite a distant sport a bit closer to those who really love it. I imagien this as a bit oif fun – A cross between NBA All Star and the Race of Champions in an an arena with fans cheering and fireworks, firing.

The argument against this just doesn’t stack up. Sponsors being unhappy? I dont think so, there wodul be lots of opportunity or local activation-Hospitality, simulators competitions etc. Also, I can’t remember any team other then Ferrari or the team who won the last WC getting any coverage at all… and even then it was pretty sparse outside the specialist press.

In terms of media coverage I’d guess it won’t change anything in the specialist press-Those who have a story will get good (or bad)coverage, those who don’t will get some perfunctory coverage. As someone sadi above it would be awesome to see a season launch issue of Autosport though with all the cars compared and contrasted.

If this goes onto TV I’d definetly watch -Especially if Beyonce is coming down from the roof swinging on a glitterball. Glamour, Girls and F1 cars? What’s not to love!



The principle is good but I think a number of Team Sponsors may question whether they will get Value for money, especially with the media concentrating on the top teams. I do however think that FOTA should hold a pre-season test session similar to the one held in Moto GP where prizes are up for grabs and the general public are invited. This could be held in January. It would also give the teams to try new things prior to the season opener in March.


I’m in favor of online launches to start the buzz, but then an “official” Formula-1 Event to roll the cars out, possibly including practice sessions, interviews, etc.

I still think the “one size fits all” approach to “cost savings” is ridiculous. What saves Ferrari money may not even be an expense for USF1 or Force India, or could be hugely expensive for Campos or McLaren (team names largely random). For example, the factory closure debacle this summer that most teams agree cost them money in overtime to make up the lost time.

If this were a gaming system, you’d be allocated a set amount of “research points” that you could spend as appropriate– one team might need to test new drivers, another might need wind tunnel testing, and a third might need a few extra aero runs. Take the idea a step further, it might be a way to encourage established teams to assist new teams– but that’s just crazy talk.


They already do a group launch event. It’s called the first race of the season.

There is no need for teams to do these fancy pre-season launch shows at all.

If the teams want to spend money on them, then that is their own choice. Fortunately there are no points awarded for “Best fireworks” or “Most dancing girls”.


Seems an odd decision to base themselves in Spain, but then it’s alot cheaper than commuting back to the US all the time (especially in the peak european season) so I suppose it makes a degree of sense.

I look forward to seeing what USF1, and the other 3 new teams, bring to the sport.


Go the online Route – Toyota tried it a few years ago, but that way they can create a media buzz, have some people come to the event, but still do it was lower cost that hiring out the center of barcelona……


Launch them all at the same time. With the money saved they could put back into making a really good show or festival of speed. Make it fun. Show off the new cars but especially show off what makes F1 cool and unique. Hold it at a tropical track. Hold it at Vegas with magicians revealing the cars in unexpected ways. Hold it in an indoor football stadium or in the Louvre. Have a classic/supercar auction like Speed TV’s Barrett Jackson. Have a concert festival. have cart races with famous drivers. Bring Senna, Evel Knievel and Elvis back from the dead. Whatever it takes. Just make people want to actually watch it. Ha ha.

Probably my last post here this year. Thanks for putting together such a great site and for your great reporting and insights on a wild, roller-coaster year James. You no doubt had to work your ass off especially hard this year! Congratulations.


The site will continue through the winter, plenty of content planned.


what about new for old , Williams launch the new for 2010 car with Damon Hill in his world championship car also doing demo runs. Same with all the teams new car with driver and a historic car from there show room with a former world champion or race winning/main driver.would be a great history lesson for new fans.

the new 2010 lotus against one of the JPS lotus from the 70’s … can see it now 😉


A group launch weekend will be nice. Cars can be rolled out motor show style and the drivers can do the shakedown of the new cars the following day. The event should be televised as part of the F1 franchise. I guess the challenge will be finding the suitable venue and time, considering some teams may not have their cars ready until the last minute.


I like the launches done separately, team by team. Especially now, with no testing the off-season seems too long. This way, at least there is something to look forward to over a period of a month or so. If they did it all at the same time, it would have a bigger splash, but then what? I’m surprised they don’t just legislate a single launch date to make it “fair”. There are rules for everything else.


If done right, a group launch could be great. Especially if they tried to model it a bit with an international car show angle to it. They should also make it open to the public. With key team personnel available for fan and media Q&A.


Yes a group launch event would be a great idea, especially if the cars were also running either some non championship race or at least some testing. Not only seeing the cars and hearing the hype, but watching them in action as well.

Something along this line would be nice!


I like the idea of all cars being launched at the same time instead of some in early January and some not until a few days before the first race. Whether it’s at a single event or not matters less to me.


One launch show, held at a track (or well connected city) with 3 untimed display laps for each car running in “aero test mode” (or an agreed maximum speed to avoid anyone binning the car). A similar thing to the old one lap qualifying. All the cars should be driven by The Stig. At least he wont give away any secrets!

Televised if possible but definately kangaroo tv at the venue for spectators.

The track/venue should be decided as tne one with the best access for fans with hotels etc.

The launch should be one display, with each team allowed to present their new car for a set period of time. In addition each team should have a media pitch (all the same size) similar to a trade show, with the team principal senior engineers and drivers available to the public/press.


I think it should be individual. The 3/4 month off season is horrible for F1 fans and the only thing we have to look forward to is car launches and testing times – if you lump all the car launches together it will really make the winter feel long.

I think F1 teams can save lots of money by being sensible about the launch, but still provide fans multiple launches to look forward to.

With regards to launching online – this is a good idea, however they need to do a better job than Toyota did last year. Last year their site crashed because millions of people wanted to watch it and they didn’t have enough bandwidth so the site crashed for around two hours – which was very silly, not to mention short sighted.


I totally think that on-line coverage is the way to go for everyone concerned. On that note is there any chance of you doing some of your race commentary and reporting as a podcast? Huh James? Is there any chance? 😀

PS. Like your blog a lot


With regards to testing I’d like to see the Thursday of the race weekend back as a testing day, with a twist: only allow specialist testing drivers to sit at the wheel. That way young up-and-coming drivers would get a chance to learn how to drive an F1 car and show what they’re made of, and when they do get the chance to race they won’t be completely out of their depth like Grosjean clearly is now.


I agree with you that smaller teams will not get much coverage in a group launch. Also in a group setup I don’t think two teams would want to launch at the same time… who will the audience listen to? So if you schedule one after another in a day or two, it would get tedious.

F1 being so cutting edge, online launches with live webcast is the way to go.

Besides, the group launch idea almost sounds like an automobile trade show!


I’d like to see a single launch event. They should make a big show out of it with all 13 cars and al drivers. Maybe they can broadcast it on TV, it might get a much better audience than any event for one team alone.

They could propably still do their little presentations in front of the garage at the first day of testing, those can’t cost that much.


A big launch day sounds excellent, to be honest the launches are pretty rubbish at the moment. But I think it will be unworkable, teams will want to finish their cars at different times.


I don’t care for car launches, no F1 fan gets to see anything live, thus there is also rather little value for the sponsors. I’d rather do a demo run in a big city between the tests in February after they’ve sorted the first teething problems. Perhaps in the home country of the reigning WDC?


Initially i think that launching the cars all together would be good idea in order to save costs but like you said the smaller teams would recieve less air time. Teams such as Force India and USF1 would not find this beneficial as they need to raise their own profile in their respected companies in which they may choose to have their own launches. I believe that i think it was Toyota who launched their car online last year which was good and different compared to previous launches. A possible idea would be for the teams to launch at a circuit that would include a non-championship mini race in which was done in a way so that the teams could have equal air time.


Bang on with the idea of a non championship race, Adam. An old rant of mine is to get that back as everyone here has seen! If there is a group launch — and I think there should be — that has to be a part of it.

Mandate a group launch/race combination naturally becomes a test session. So, following-on to Adam’s suggestion, there should be two (maybe three?) group test sessions including the same thing. This will help all the teams in both marketing and in development. Remember: Other major series (NASCAR, IRL) do group testing at Indy and Daytona in particular. Among the things they learn from doing so is the aero performance of the cars in traffic, following and overtaking other cars on both full and light fuel loads. McLaren might have had a much better handle on their aero problems, certainly sooner, had they been able to do this.

Of course, there’s the issue of the Skunkworks-style secrecy the F1 teams have gotten used to. The don’t want to reveal anything about their cars to competitors. FOTA needs to wake up, come off of that attitude, and match actions to words in making F1 more accessible to, and better value for, the fans.

Televise these test/race sessions. Cheap tickets. Mandatory autograph sessions. And run them on tracks not currently on the calendar. Simulcast them via streaming online video.

Let’s see if FOTA will put up or shut up.


Single launch event….great! For a normal F1 fan (not an F1 freak), car unveilings are a bit of a non-entity, but a ‘Group Car Launch’ would be well worth tuning in for.


On 2nd thoughts, each team having individual events would allow teams to get together with fans. Not to mention the logistical costs in setting up an event like this. Perhaps there should be a cap on the event costs so each team cannot “out do” the other! I think ultimately whether it is one event or many smaller events, I think ultimately teams should be looking to how they can connect with fans.

Either with cheaper team membership schemes (it costs £60 + to join lewis or mclarens scheme!!) and merchandise so fans can afford to follow their teams, and also more opportunities for fans either to purchase access to events (allowing more corporate exposure and allowing fans better access to teams) – particularly for the smaller teams. A good global fanbase = a good revenue stream for the smaller teams.


The testing ban is, frankly, laughable. You wouldn’t design and build a road car without extensive testing; why should “the pinnacle of motorsport” be different? And how can a ban on testing be compatible with a committment to make it easier for new entrants to come into F1, now and in the future? How do they build up their knowledge base or expertise?

Limiting the cost of testing is, of course, another thing entirely. Banning private tests, limiting the number of team members involved, requiring some tests to be conducted with new-to-F1 drivers are all things I would applaud.

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