F1 Winter Break
New teams strike back at negative rumours
New teams strike back at negative rumours
Posted By: James Allen  |  12 Jan 2010   |  9:32 pm GMT  |  71 comments

The new teams in F1 have been forced on the PR offensive today in light of negative stories about them as the new season approaches. Campos, Virgin and USF1 have come out with some clarifications as the pressure mounts to get their teams on track ahead of the pre-season testing and the first race.

Campos has spoken to the BBC today and set the record straight on his talks with potential last minute investors. He said that with the money due from FOM and from a second pay driver, whom he hoped to sign soon, he would be on budget,
“”We are looking for investors and sponsors but the project is very much alive. We are talking with people who would like to be shareholders, ” he said. “We expect to have more investors. People speak too much and make trouble for us. I don’t want to sell my part of the team and I will remain the team principal – the condition to be a shareholder is to accept all the existing contracts.”

After rumours on the subject over the last 24 hours, Virgin Racing tonight confirmed that it has shed its team principal Alex Tai and John Booth, of Manor Motorsport takes over the role. This is clearly a change of plan as the launch was only a month ago and the team was presented with Tai as its chief, albeit one had the impression that he would probably only do a year or two in the role to bed the team in before moving on to his next assignment in the Virgin group.

Meanwhile there have been rumours, which started in Italy at the weekend, that USF1 had requested a derogation to start the season at the Spanish Grand Prix on May 9. But I checked with the FIA and with the team and this is absolutely untrue. USF1 have rooms booked for Bahrain.

The US F1 team has not been as active on the internet so far as one might have imagined, given that one of the partners of the team is You Tube founder Chad Hurley and that they have an in house studio dedicated to video production and online distribution.

Judging from the fact that the team’s URL is still www.usgpe.com one must surmise that the delays came from problems getting the use of the URL www.usf1.com and after losing a lot of time, they have decided to go ahead with the old URL anyway.

I noticed that in recent days they have redesigned the site and put some new content on it. There is a video with their monocoque undergoing a crash test and another of a tour of the factory.

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Re Virgin, it is now being reported that John Booth will take over the reigns at Virgin and it looks like they will be starting pre-season testing from the second sets of tests (according to Autosport).

I'm really crossing my fingers for Virgin as they are my local team.


The youtube embed is a Dan Gurney interview (USF1 branded). Perhaps the wrong one? (Dan Gurney is always worth listening to however!)


Hi James, enjoy you blog very much, keep it up!

USF1 appears to have an awfully long way to go. It seems Peter Windsor gets a pretty easy ride from his media chums. But no drivers? No sponsors? Nowhere near having a roller? The guys in the factory don't even have uniform's for pete sake. And I'm sorry to poke a hole in your reporting, but most hotel rooms can be cancelled can't they? Booking a hotel room doesn't an active F1 team make! Simon


Give them a chance! It's not easy getting an F1 team together. If they are in Bahrain we will judge their progress then.


Big 'if'...

Sorry James, but it does seem as if Windsor and co. are being given an easy time by the F1 media.

As for Windsor...I know he's been around F1 since the 70s in various roles and has worked with Williams etc. but...I dunno...from his writing he comes across as a bit of a fantasist...


James: weren't Brawn refused permission to use F1 in their team name last year? Has the US team rec'd said permission? Thanks, John


I think the separate word 'F1' is a problem, regarding trademarks and the like, but since the team name is 'USF1' not 'US F1' I think this is fine. Somebody else may be able to clarify though.


I believe the rule as of now is that you have to be called F1 Team to include it in your name (For example, Honda Racing F1 Team was okay). Brawn didn't want to be Brawn F1 Team, so they went for Brawn GP.


Probably it will not be long before we see Prodrive and Lola in F1.


Wow having been to the usgp (usf1) site I am a bit concerned. The interview with the designer and cosworth guy in what was described as a design office... looked like a painted lockup to me.... did not inspire shall we say.

I would love to be surprised... but you get the feeling that they will be absolutely nowhere... way out of their depth....

There is a total lack of ... well anything in their videos, a sort of ... no people... no buildings... no cars... no well anything... very worrying

That said don't you think Peter Windsor has all the manerisms and talking style of Patrick Head... spooky... I think he must of spent too much time in his company


Just a couple of corrections on USF1:

Ken Anderson first registered the domain usf1.com on of before feb 2007. the .com domain has been transferred but check usf1.net.

Could you please provide a a link to the video of the monocoque test? The only crash test video I have seen is of the nose only.

That is a video of Dan Gurney not Bob Varsha.


Sorry, .org not .net

Here's the Whois listing.( I have deleted the personal info.)

Domain ID:D138937634-LROR

Domain Name:USF1.ORG

Created On:05-Feb-2007 01:24:52 UTC

Last Updated On:16-Dec-2009 19:52:38 UTC

Expiration Date:05-Feb-2012 01:24:52 UTC

Sponsoring Registrar:GoDaddy.com, Inc. (R91-LROR)





Registrant ID:CR32846890

Registrant Name:Ken Anderson

Registrant Street1:**** Chester Ct

Registrant Street2:

Registrant Street3:

Registrant City:Davidson

Registrant State/Province:North Carolina

Registrant Postal Code:28036

Registrant Country:US

Registrant Phone:+1.704****644

Registrant Phone Ext.:

Registrant FAX:

Registrant FAX Ext.:

Registrant Email:

Stephen Kellett JAF1

Good grief.

What professional would use GoDaddy?

Opposite Lock (Ken)

For a cheap, expedient way to reserve a domain name, it's a pretty good way to go. For permanence, maybe not so much. It's a good idea to block out the alternative names, .net, .org etc. to prevent others from hijacking misdirected viewers as well.


If some of the existing teams were purposely planting the seed of doubt in the minds of potential investors, would this be considered fair play? I don't think it's totally ethical, but I do think it's probably what's happened.


We are talking about F1 here, ethics is not genreally part of the equation!!!


I think usf1.com was the first domain they put some content on about a year ago, but immediately FOM made some noises about necessary licensing to use f1 or f1.com somewhere in there, and the team switched to usgpe.com. You can still type usf1.com into your browser address bar, it's redirecting to usgpe.com . Funny that now FOM is said to be "disappointed" that Mercedes doesn't use "F1" within their team name, but "GP" instead.

WHOIS domain info on usf1.com says the domain was registered on 14.12.2000 and usgpe.com on 09.04.2007. The initial registrar could have been someone not connected to the USF1 team who just sold on the domain to them recently. But Peter Windsor said the idea of creating a US-based F1 team had been with him for some years already when they started getting serious about a year or 18 months ago, so maybe he really DID register usf1.com in 2000 thinking "you never know when the price is gonna come down ... better be prepared".


Is it just me, or does the USF1 factory look like a poorly funded scout hut? The 'drawing office' only appears to have one pc in it?? Does not look impressive to me.

Stephen Kellett JAF1

Not the impression I got.

For a start, you can see people in the background. They are all sitting on Herman Miller Aeron chairs. They go for £1000 a chair. Not what I'd call poorly funded.

The monitors look like a Dell 2408WFP. A Dell 2408WFP is an excellent 24" wideScreen with 1920 x 1200 resolution and can be oriented horizontal or landscape (both of which are handy for CAD design). They also come in around £550. Not exactly the most expensive, but not cheap either. Great monitor, but the default colour settings are crap.

I have no problems with the monitors, but the choice of chair is extravagant, the sort of thing associated with Dot Com startups during the bubble boom period before the 2000 bust.

For a company short on money there are plenty of excellent chairs that do not sport £1000 price tags.

The interview though, was dull. I kind of got the impression that Mr Anderson (or other senior people) were hanging around and thus preventing the interviewees from speaking their mind.

As for the wall decor - early recruits at Google worked on doors laid across boxes. I assume you know that Google is a major hit now.

You cannot judge anything by the fact the walls have just been painted rather than plastered and painted, or that initial furnishings are not what you'd expect.


Still looks a little thin on people and nothing much shown on facilities, but I wish them well. Peter certainly knows how to do this, so I have every confidence they'll be there on time.


James, have to say a thank you for actually doing some investigation/real journalism into these stories and clearing them up. As opposed to just taking in and repeating whats floating around out there.

As ever, great stuff.


Jeesus Christ!

This team looks more and more like a sham to me. I mean what is their purpose of existence. Virtually every one on this clip seems to be embarrassed of themselves.

So much of supporting underdog.


Top line should have been moderated James. Thanks.


"Why should it? It’s only a name…"

Well said.

It's been used as an expletive for longer than most, if not

all, of the people who read this forum have been on earth.

The notion that using "Jesus Christ" as an expletive is

something which should be censored makes me think of

those lunatics who attacked the Danish cartoonist ( you know the situation unless you've hidden under a rock for the last year ).


I suppose I'm just old fashioned then. But this is just a blog, no need to get worked up about it... In general Christianity doesn't exactly "encourage" taking the name "Jesus Christ" so casually and in vain. My post was reflexive but this is no apology.

To connect the notion that I'd attack anyone for it is rather dim mind you.

my last comment on the matter.


Why should it? It's only a name...


If any of the new teams are struggling I really hope it isnt USF1. I think for the benefit of F1, a major US success will be very welcome. Having said that, for the sake of Bruno Senna, I really hope Campos do not fold. He was very unlucky last winter when Honda pulled the plug as he looked in good shape for a drive


Aw those poor design geeks just want to be left alone 🙁


What about Stefan GP in all of this? I hear that they are poised with the Toyota chassis and Nakajima ready to step in if needed.

The way that the Campos project is going it might be better for Senna's reputation for the team to go down. I hear he's in the frame for a seat at Stefan GP or maybe Renault would take him if Campos drop out?


Nonsense. Cheers to many 2010 great races by Bruno at Campos!


I firmly believe that USF1 will be on the grid in 2010. How well they run remains to be seen. Peter Windsor mentioned when they kicked off this project that it would be run similar to a skunkworks operation . . . lean and mean. I think that's what your seeing. You don't have to have a building like Mecca to compete in F1. It would be nice, but you don't have to have it

As much as I would like to see more information coming out of USF1, I understand that they are only going to reveal what they want the public to know. Plus, why would they want to release info only to be overshaddowed by the return of Michael S. All will be known in due time.

Just one person's opinion.


I sincerely hope USF1 are just going about their business quietly(if not covertly) and when they decide to flick the switch, their global release will be a typically American over-the-top massive multi-media event...with a few surprises. ie: drivers.....here's hoping.


well i will be putting some money on lotus getting on the podium.

cant wait for this season to start.

The Imperative Voice

I take the dispensation to test alone at Barber (instead of with most of the field at Jerez) much more seriously as a bad sign for USF1 than anything else, including the "won't race until Spain"-type rumors that the FIA has shot down (even if hotel rooms are a weak defense, if they've not applied to skip races like the rumor says then the rumor is false, period).

I mean, one level of testing is making sure the car works and seeing how it runs, but the second level is seeing how you compare through sectors and laps. If you have no idea how you compare over a lap, or at least whether you can hack some sectors better than others, then you will operate at a serious competitive advantage.

IMO, USF1's dispensation to test at Barber is intended to help them get to the grid -- it'll save cash -- but with what? And the whole series is overseas and they have to afford it sometime. It may do little good to arrive at Bahrain only to have a completely uncompetitive or unreliable car.

USF1 with American drivers is a nice theory but the problem is that it's totally ground up. You'd have been better off elevating Penske or Target intact from IRL -- with sponsors, drivers, and such in tow already -- than starting over with no history to sell. Sponsors don't know what to think, you're competing with IRL/NASCAR/GP2/F1 for drivers, and you can't even say that you've won a weekend race at Sebring, much less an IRL event or anything serious. It becomes a total sales job and they've not sold the idea of USF1 very well.

The Imperative Voice



People for gawd's sake USF1 has repeatedly said that over 1/2 of their people are EXTERNAL CONTRACTORS. The CFD group, the carbon group, suspension, transmission .....

Read More first.


Thank you much! It wouldn't surprise me if Dan Gurney's AAR is one of those contractors, public denials or non-disclosures notwithstanding. They do have fully functioning CAD/CAM, autoclave etc, etc, so forth.


Other than Red Bull and the new teams, are the others all on schedule to get to the first test?


Well, they've got some bloke in a shirt and some tins of white emulsion! I'm not sure what to make of this, the 'factory' seems to be a bit lacking in......anything really! Not exactly the MTC is it? No wonder they've been a bit quiet - there isn't much to say! I wish them luck.

Christopher Snowdon

James, gut feeling time, do you think USF1 will be in Bahrain?


I wonder which one will be the first to sell their F1 entry?


The design director seems like a charismatic guy, perhaps you could do a more in depth interview with him James.lol.


As of Campos, I've read some interviews here in Spain and I don't think it's looking good for them. The Senna move seems to have failed to attract the sponsors they expected, and the target budget has not been reached. By January the 13rd it sure is not the ideal situation...


Being 'Here in Spain' doesn't refrain one from finding out what Bruno himself says:



'Sobre a Campos, podem ficar tranquilos!'


Having just watched the videos I cannot believe these are serious about F1, everything just looks like a bad joke and the interviewer as well as the interviewees looked embarrassed to being recoded on video.

Had Lola or more-so Prodrive been given the slot USF1 does anything not know they would have done a far better job than this lot ❓ 😕

The more I think about it the more I think that all was not well with Mosley's selection process, the biggest question is why no Prodrive who are clearly ready like no other for F1 now ❓

What disappoints me is the I believe Richards knows all was not well in how his team was overlooked but he's too gutless to challenge this because, I suspect fear of FIA reprisals.

Although not the best example but Briatore has proven to the world that the FIA is not above the law and the procedures they use in certain circumstances are both not right or legal.

Max Mosley's FIA was run like it was his private toy for him to do with it what he wanted, how he wanted and when he wanted and sadly with the news that Todt's FIA is to challenge the Briatore ruling shows me we're likely to be in more just more of the same and I can't see FOTA going the distance again and even if they did without the manufacturers I doubt it would carry the same weight as teams like Williams would likely stay as is, what could have been 😉


The criticism you hear most about Dave Richards is that he wasn't serious - if he was, Prodrive would be in F1 by now - He is only interested in making noise. In fact I'm sure that was Max's critisism?

To me thats just nuts! They effectively have the team, the location, the facilities, the skills and the will and passion. But not the blessing of Max, or the Cosworth engine...

This was never a transparent or fair selection process - i never understand why the FIA isn't challenged more in the courts!


It does seem very strange. I realise not every team has (or needs) a Mclaren technology centre or whatever they call it, but the "tour of the factory" shows no cars, engines, equipment or tools. Everything is completely bare!

There does at least appear to be a render of an F1 car blu-tacked to the wall at 3:30 though. Let's hope it's theirs and not something they printed off from the Internet...


It looks very improvised. Like any start-up. No need to worry.

What's worrying me is the interview with the team members. They look pretty daft, don't they? They're not far off from a burn out. And the season has yet to start …

The virgin and lotus team look more passionate, one can feel the vibe from their engineers.

It appears to me that USF1 relies too heavily on the youtube and US brand. Marketing & patriotism. Which is okay, but they should be the icing on the cake, not the other way around.


That was like watching a Kimi Raikkonen interview.


Once upon a time there was a 50 miljon bond to be paid for entering F1. This video from USFGP reminds us why. Certainly Peter Windsor can put a positive spin but says nothing of substance.

Jason Andersson presented as design director seem out of his depth and engine man Mike Draisy looks most embarassed. Seems like a bit of investigate journalism would reveal a good deal more here.


Good luck to them, it looks like they will need it.

Still they are Americans and I'm sure that they will do all that they can as they hate losing.


Maybe its not just the teams, but perhaps FOM who might have interest in spreading disinformation about the new teams - I mean Bernie hasn't been particularly subtle in stating that he doesn't think all the new teams will make the grid! I mean surely its in his interests to make sure they do, so why is he actively talking them down?

I have to admit I also find the Virgin / Manor situation quite interesting - I mean why change your management structure so early on? What's prompted that? A falling out? Difference of philosophy between a racing team and a sponsor? Undue interference?


there is a team in spain, called epsilon euskadi, run by the very experienced joan villadeprat, that worked at mclaren, ferrari and benetton, among other smaller teams, that has better facilities than renault, had sponsorship agreed for three years, were already working on the car just in case they were granted a slot for 2010. And they were just left to the side.

So mr ecclestone, you must have good reasons to have made the choice you made, but if some of these teams don't make it, you just have to look in the mirror, to find the person responsible.


I feel sorry for Campos and USF1, not least because Bernie, of all people, has been openly questioning their viability for some time now. If I was a potential sponsor, Bernie's comments would put me off going anywhere near the teams.

Sad to say, though, that these vids are spookily devoid of anything resembling prolonged design or construction activity. Prediction; USnot-inF1.


Check http://www.brunosenna.com.br where Bruno's own words on 12Jan10 read as follows:

'Sobre a Campos, podem ficar tranquilos!'

And that's good enough for me.


It looks more like a Formula Ford team who lucked out and got a cheap lease in a new building.

Except for Ken Anderson, the team members are obviously not American. It makes me wonder how appealing to American race fans this team will be. When it's a choice between the good 'ole boys of NASCAR, the success stories that are Penske, Andretti or Ganassi, this team has its work cut out.

If this team is successful it will be revolutionary by F1 standards...


Just money cannot justify the passion some people have for this sport. Peter has been involved in this business for long enough to take up a huge challenge. Come on guys, even if they don’t make it to the 1st race I have no doubt they will make it to the grid sooner or later. That’s itself a part of the history. Teams like Ferrari, McLaren, BMW, and Renault are too high profile teams. You can’t compare USF1 to those teams already. These guys invested as much as any other teams from their point of view with hard work and whatever the funds they can afford. So they do deserve everyone’s well wishes as well as all the other new teams.

Remind me one F1 season without rumours if you can.


Most of the negative comments about the new teams is emanating from Italy, now who do we know who's Italian and hates the new teams with a passion.

Oh yeah, Luca di Montezemolo !!


If Team America hadn't been so jingoistic and chest beating (which is bizarre, considering Windsor's nationality) in the first place, I think they wouldn't have so many people, myself included, who wish to see them fail.

If Campos and Team America make it to the grid, I expect them to be so far of the pace of the front runners that they may as well be in the GP2 race.


I think a few of the comments here are a bit harsh on the new teams especially those concerning USF1.

It is a mammoth task to build a new team from the ground up and even more so in such a short space of time. All the teams will be prioritizing their tasks and the decor of the offices and equipment is a very low priority right now.

I think it will be very tight for all of the new teams to get to the first race in time but I'm sure they'll make it - just. Once that target is reached they'll start to focus on all the other improvemtns that will need to be made.

And what is with the facination and belief that ProDrive and Dave Richards could be any better than the new teams? All we have heard from Dave Richards is alot of hot air, excuses and moaning with no real substance behind it.

If ProDrive were serious they would have been in F1 years ago if they accepted to design a custom chasis or would have been approved for entry this year if they accepted the engine selection restrictions.

They didn't so they aren't....simple

How many thought Aguri were a joke of a team when they first started? And how many respected or even loved the team after a season when they started to improve and get into a points scoring position every now and then?

Alot I would say...... so we should be supporting the new teams and give them a chance to compete.


I am worried about safety. Team America and Campos could endanger the lives of other F1 drivers if they are just rushing the design of their cars.

Simtek & Ronald Ratzenberger come to mind.


Just as a comparison, this is a video tour of the Red Bull factory... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WrgxeHC228&feature=related

What a difference!! People working at machines, not just desks, components being manufactured, actual evidence of bits of cars being built, items in the autoclaves...and no Peter Windsor!!


I'm glad the rumours of skipping Bahrain were untrue - I did find it hard to believe Peter Windsor would, after so much time and effort, choose to try and miss the opening flyaway races.

James: is there any particular reason USF1 have been so quiet? Is there any truth to the persistent claims they are struggling, or are they just adopting a very laid back, under the radar approach to manage expectations and build up slowly?


Well as I said in the piece, the delay on the URL has had something to do with it

Opposite Lock (Ken)

I believe Peter and Ken have taken a lesson from Jackie Stewart and put their money into the car and not the flash around it. The premises are bare but functional. They will be going flat out to get the car ready while also building their pit crew and support team. Not to mention, shipping containers, trucks, "brand center" which if they are smart will be a tent, while also building a race car. This is a HUGE undertaking to put together in under a year. Toyota and others actually took two years and they had virtually unlimited funding. They have been smart staying out of the spotlight until now. Let's see where they are in Spain.



Watching this video is painful. It looks like a high school technology and design department has decided to go F1 racing. Where are the engineers? Why does the "chief designer" seem embarrassed to be interviewed? Why does the "design office" look like a painted lockup? Why is the factory a bare shell? Peter Windsor may be even more of a fantasist than most of us imagined. I wish USF1 well, but judging from this, it doesn't look good...


I really don't think people are thinking their comments through. People are complaining about the decor, the lack of engines or models, and other items they would expect to see.

Good grief, the place was just renovated mere months ago. They've also never existed before. Are you people expecting to see trophy cases?!? There weren't any engines present because Cosworth just finished the things.

Seriously, they're building an F1 team from scratch. I'm sure they have more important things to do than worry about their interior decor.

Opposite Lock (Ken)

USF1 has asked for a straight line testing extension to make sure the engines fit and run as expected. Good grief! They haven't even received their engines yet! Never been run in the chassis. Everything from fuel pick up to transmission and ECU all have to be connected for the first time. Then tested to see if it all works properly. Far better to try it all out nearby than ship everything overseas only to find out adjustment have to be made. Even with computer design and sophisticated simulators, there IS a difference between virtual and on-track running. A race car is one of the most harsh environments for electronics. Running on a track is way different than running on a test bed. Give 'em a chance to sort the car before they ship it off to Europe.


This does make me laugh. Some people on here make running an F1 team, building one up from scratch, sound so easy. Its not just development of the car and testing, but the logistical side of it aswell. None of that is easy and is very expensive.


Going Grand Prix racing as a private team hasn't been easy and has been very expensivo for over a hundred years, actually. I wish well to all four and to Campos&Bruno in particular.


During races you have the ability to rewind time to

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Other titles you can play with the Wii accessory is

Residential Evil, and Dead Space. Everyone loves finding something before everyone

else, particularly if it's a delicious secret ' that's the cool thing about stumbling on

an Easter Egg way before any other gamer has and why the internet is full of

spoilers showing them all off.

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