F1 Winter Break
Should USF1 be allowed to skip four races?
Should USF1 be allowed to skip four races?
Posted By: James Allen  |  20 Feb 2010   |  7:05 pm GMT  |  345 comments

It has been widely reported today that the USF1 team has asked the FIA for permission to miss the first four races of the season, starting at the beginning of the European season.

Picture 1
Team founder Ken Anderson spoke to the New York Times on Friday and admitted that the team was not currently good to go, but suggested that some funding would be available provided that the FIA gives them this massive concession soon,
“If we get a decision quickly, it triggers funding and we’re good to go,” he said.

“We’re working with the FIA to clarify how many races we can miss,” he added. “In an ideal world, we can miss the first four races and show up in Barcelona [9 May].”

There have been mixed signals on the possibility of teams missing races. Although it has been suggested by Bernie Ecclestone that in the Concorde Agreement a team can miss three races, FIA president Jean Todt said recently that this was not the case.

USF1 was caught out by the late resolution of the row between the teams and the FIA last summer. It delayed its plans by several months. There have been rumours that the team’s main backer, You Tube founder Chad Hurley, was on the pointg of pulling out but Anderson denied this.

He wants a lifeline, some sponsors have not followed through on pledges to back the team, apparently and he feels the FIA should help his team, not strangle it at birth.

“Why would they give us a franchise and just, the first time there’s a bump in the road, yank it and put it out of business?” he said. “That’s definitely not the message I’m getting from them. They want to help us, not shut us down.”

Meanwhile we have Stefan GP, which has already had its run ins with the FIA over the new team selection process, waiting in the wings to take USF1’s place.

It’s a tricky one for the FIA. To give them the leeway would create an unfortunate precedent and this is a dog eat dog business, so why should USF1 be cut some slack? But if the FIA kick them out would be construed as an admission that they were not diligent enough in checking the viability of the team. The selection process for new teams was widely criticised by media and teams at the time, but it yielded the three teams it yielded. Then when BMW failed to sign the Concorde Agreement an entry was offered to Lotus, making it four new teams. Sauber then bought BMW Sauber and got an entry.

It comes down to viability. Does USF1 have the legs to still be in F1 in ten years if it is given a second chance now? Does the FIA believe that Stefan is viable and will be able to move beyond the ‘second hand Toyota’ phase and develop into a proper team?

If the FIA believes that Stefan has the wherewithal to make a go of it, perhaps it should give them the entry. Either way, the last thing F1 needs is a team which peters out during the season.

What do you think?

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Get USF1 out and Stefan GP in. Simples.


Why is there any connection between the two events? That could be out of the frying pan into the fire.

Any decision to exclude USF1 should be completely independent of Stefan GP being awarded a place.

If USF1 is excluded (as I believe they should be) then proper due diligence should be done on any/all teams wanting to apply for the spare slot on the grid.

There are lessons to be learned from this episode and much tighter controls/reporting/phased deliverables needed to ensure all the elements are coming together to ensure no new entrant can get in this mess at this stage again.

It may well be that no one can fill the slot this year with a team deserving of an F1 place, but that leaves everyone a full year to sort things out properly.... 3 months to select the entrant and 9 months for them to then prepare.


I agree with Martin P's reply that the two events are totally unconnected. USF1's place should not depend on whether there is another team waiting in the wings. If Stefan have wasted their money then that was their choice when they knew they didn't have a place.

However, in contrast to Martin P, I think USF1 should be given the chance IF they can convince the FIA that they will be at the 5th race.


These two events are strongly connected. Joe Saward wrote about this on his blog yesterday.


I've just googled the chap and read his article. He's making a different point; suggesting the logical path is for USF1 to sell their entry to Stefan GP in the same way as Honda did to Brawn. This reflects the superb post by R.E.M. further down, although he goes further by suggesting timing and delay is the key strategic element. The plan certainly has merit seeing as the grid slot is possibly USF1's only capital asset.

But that's completely different to the situation above and the comment I made - i.e. should they be allowed to miss four races or, as suggested was above, be kicked out and the entry given to Stefan.

At this stage the tale seems to be that they've asked for a four-race grace, not that they've approached the FIA to reveal plans to sell their entry.

My point is simply that it should be irrelevant whether it would leave a vacant slot on the grid. If you need to miss the first four races you're not up to F1 standards and the FIA should kick them out regardless of Stefan GP or anyone else.

Any replacement team for that slot should then undergo extreme due diligence to make sure they are up to the task. To be frank I don't believe you could complete that task in three weeks, unless of course they've already started doing it........


Who's Joe Saward?


Absolutely not. They obviously weren't prepared for the 2010 season if they aren't going to be ready. Give it to Stefan GP, who are obviously much better prepared and ready to go. I knew from the start that this joke (US F1) would never see the light of day.


My understanding is that the Concorde Agreement would prevent Stefan GP from getting an entry at this late stage unless they either bought out USF1 entirely, or were granted special dispensation to race pending agreement of all the teams and the FIA. Since neither of these is particularly likely to happen I'd say that USF1 should be given every chance to get ready, so that we can have 13 teams on the grid for as much of 2010 as is feasible.


Perhaps Stefan could keep writing checks and make a deal to pay any huge fines that USF1 may incur in pulling out in exchange for their place...so that USF1 doesn't have to pay heavy fines on top of the losses they already have. It would help USF1 be able to afford to pull out. Of course, Jean Todt's thoughts & wishes will be defining.


Well, as there are no races in the good old US of A and it really, really should be encouraged over the pond, I say yes.... on the proviso that the fines for not appearing at Barce are seriously big!...


If they do not have the money to make it to the first 4 races, how would they have money to pay fines that are "seriously big" ?


There is no point is letting them miss 4 races... Clearly they are absolutely no where...

No pics, no cars nothing... their ESPN promo video was a joke.. it looked like a lockup.. breeze block a few PC's... ,mine is better than the ones they had. A designer who didn't no what to say..

Giving them 4 races would mean putting off their inevitable failure.

It's going to be hard enough for Lotus and VR and they have got good people in from other teams AND here's the biggy, they are based in Europe... there is absolutely no way you can compete with the design requirements based in America.

But its a mess... As you say, its alright for Stefan, using a Toyota car... this year... but next year.... you need to be designing next years car this May.... (no chance for USF1)

What a waste for Prodrive....

The FIA should be ashamed...


Lol Prodrive had an entry for 2008 and blew it.

What a waste.

The FIA shouldn't be ashamed, they should be standing on the rooftops of BMW, Toyota, and Honda HQs, shouting to FOTA; "see we told you so".


Do you follow F1? I think not... it wasn't Prodrives fault they could not enter in 2008 it was the FIA's . They allowed Prodrive in, but when it came doen to it they told Prodrive they could enter with a Customer car.. Frank Williams vitoed this and threatened cout action, thus Prodrive could not continue... not heir fault another FIA mess... please get your facts right...

By the way regarding BMW, Toyota et al... if the FIA did not have a madman named max running the show, they would have still been around...


James - hope you don't mind my closing post....

Hi Dave P - no offence taken, and you make some great points on another POV of why the manufacturers left. I certainly agree they will be back!




I apologise... it was not a personal attack on you... it certainly was not meant to imply you know nothing.

I just like to get a response from people and challenge them on their views...

That said, There is a lot of politics to how F1 is operated. To me the manufacturers had a good point, the FIA has never put a penny into the sport... yet the Manufacturers put in Billions and I mean Billions, so you can understand that given the financial crisis, that having Max lecture them on how to run their business was going to drive them away.. they may have stuck around had more co-operation existed, but I admit that is pure speculation... we will never know. As for leaving when he went, have you not ever done something similar, perhaps refused to use a sservice because you felt unhappy despite millions of happy Customers? The financial crisis, just made it easy... Be assured, they will be back..


OK let's draw a line there [mod]


Pretty childish to say that if someone doesn't agree with you they know nothing.

If you want to make sweeping judgments on a person in that manner then at least use all the information to hand. I made a response to a post (on February 21st, 2010 at 9:25pm - in case you want to read it) where I put more points together re. my (personal) opinions on the Prodrive / Williams situation. You may not agree with me, and that is fine, but at least respect someone else's POV. A good point you make that I didn't make is that the FIA are partly to blame for allowing them in under those circumstances.

I fail to understand how Mosley forced the world economic crisis, made BMW suddenly come down from it's previous upward spiral, Honda produce dog after embarrassing dog (they didn't know the 09 car would be a winner), and Toyota make losses for the 1st time in their history. These are surely the reasons why these teams dropped out. If they disliked Mosley that much then why would they drop out at the moment he left (barring Honda who left a year in advance) and after FOTA got pretty much what they wanted?


What a waste for Prodrive….

The FIA should be ashamed…

Too bloody right ❗


James, not to be paranoid, but as an American, I know what USF1 are up to. This is a ploy to delay their withdrawal as long as possible. If USF1 exists, Lopez' probably can't jump ship to Campos, along with his sponsor money. This delay could jeopardize and possible ruin Campos chance to make the grid. Not only that, this could ruin Stefan GP's chance at entry as well. Bernie Ecclestone wants Stefan on the grid. However, I can't seeing the new teams allowing a much stronger team to compete against them. So the only way for Stefan to get on the grid (I think), is to acquire USF1's entry. If Bernie really wants Stefan on the grid, he might find himself paying off USF1's debts as part of the deal.

Case in point, USF1 could be obstructing 2 teams from making the grid, by not officially withdrawing until the very last moment.

That would quite a scandal... if it happens.


Why every scandal in F1 has something to do with Mosley? Even ones where him or FiA weren't personally involved were allowed to be blown out into the public and ended with a totally controversial outcome thanks to their handling of the situation.


That is quite possibly the best conspiracy theory I've heard since Capricorn One was released.

Fantastic observation and the most sense of all this I've read anywhere.


OMG! Capricorn One! I. Am. Flashing. Back. To. The. Seventies. Pre-indictment OJ Simpson... Let's hope this thing doesn't get THAT infamous.


USF1 have never seemed particularly likely to come through, alarm bells should have rang a long time ago with the FIA. I'm glad to hear Campos are back on track and have publicly aired that they want to be at Bahrain.

When I first heard about Stefan GP I found it amusing they were sending equipment to Bahrain in advance just in case a slot appears, that's certainly more than USF1 are able to commit to.

Bernie should have put clauses in to make sure the teams were on target much in the same way he did with Donington GP. If they can't give the results they promised then they shouldn't have signed up.


This is an extremely tough call. Stefan probably have a car that is ‘’good to go’’, once they find someone to give them tires for it. It may not be competitive, but should be reliable. They are ready to race. USF1 are in limbo, erstwhile backers moving on to more solid investments, a lot of talk and no sign of progress on the chassis. But F1 probably would like to re-establish some footing in the States, and that may keep the door open for them. Like you say, F1 is a dog eat dog business, so my money will be on Stefan, in the short term.


Truth is they probably have a car better than all the other new teams have been designed with all of Toyota's money so if you were one of them would you vote to let them in ❓


Kinda torn on this one.

I have some friends in the US that were real excited about USF1 & I understand that the SPEED Channel network over in the US gave a lot of focus on USF1 when they got the entry. So it seems to have generated a lot of intrest in the US which would be good, especially if it could get some more US drivers back racing in Europe & potentially lead to the USGP making a return.

StefanGP have the Toyota package which would be a good starting point but as you say in your article would they be able to make it beyond running old Toyota bits.

The other thing Im not totally comfortable with is the FIA effectively been able to put USF1 out of buisiness costing those involved millions & putting people out of work, especially given how bad the job front is over there right now.

For there problems now at least USF1 have designed & at least partly built there own car rather then buying somebody else's.


by partly built you must mean bought parts to screw on the car.


I think the problem of USF1 leaving, is not the only one, James.

How about these teams using Gps to shakedown their cars and cure the inevitable reliability problems? Just look how Virgin ruined todays testing, with various red flags disrupting other teams programs.

And what about the racing itself. If they break down during a race, they could case several safety car situations, or spill oil on the track. And even if they stay together in one piece, their pace will likely be a problem at tracks where its difficult to even overtake backmarkers, possibly influencing race results or, even worse, the outcome of the championship.

No, the FIA should not grant any favors to new teams, and risk they might ruin the season.


Hey Jack,

With respect, every downside you cite I would relish as a bonus - it's the whole point of having new teams... let's mix it up with some mobile chicane's and plenty of yellow flags. We can't expect new teams to be ultra competitive for the first 3-5 seasons...

If we're not allowed to berate the choice of testing venue (Skegness in July would be drier than Jerez) messingup testing i'm certainly not going to have a pop at VR for a few 'off's here and there...

Live and let live!


No. And what franchise? Is F1 a franchise now? Thought was a sport...

Anyhoo, give Prodrive a slot for next year. Aston Martin on the grid. How fantastic would that be?


would be good to see stefan gp on the grid rather than an empty spot, but it would still seem like a slap in the face for the other teams originally denied a place after making a 'legitimate' bid for a spot such as prodrive, lola etc


The question is not whether USF1 or Stefan will be in F1 in 10 yrs time, but rather why should we believe the FIA can make a correct judgment now when it could not six months ago? Could a monkey do just as well by throwing a dart at the wall ? So far its 50/50 so it can't do worse for sure ..


USF1 should not be allowed to miss 4 races - I think it will de-value the championship - having 'part time' teams is not in the spirit of the competition. Why should they (& sponsors) benefit from attending the cheaper & more popular euro races when other teams have had to fork out for the long-haul ones ?


Put USF1 out of their missery. If they FIA lets them miss 4 races, they might show up in Barcelone with a cardboard cut out of a Car... Their Car..and make FIA look even more foolish. I say, get them mout and get Stefan GP in. If they USF1 are serious about joining, they should come back at the end of the season with a completed car and the FIA will give them Special consideration.


Worst. Possible. Outcome.

For everyone, what a nonsense.


Even though it saddens me to say it i think that USF1 should be cut loose, and the entry passed on to stefan gp, an even better solution is to delay USF1's entry until 2011 and to expand the grid to 14 teams.


"...expand the grid to 14 teams..."

Is this practical? Is there enough room in pit lanes at all circuits? Monaco is the obvious problem circuit but what about the others?


That's a good solution and fair to all. If the FIA are going to do that though they have to make sure that USF1 can be a viable team in a year or there is no point.


Too much like right. Won't happen.


No, They chose to go the US route and alienate themselves from European drivers that could have brought sponsorship.

How much money did they waste building a factory in America? They could have established the team in Europe then moved across the Atlantic.

StefanGP are ready to go let them at it or let Stefan, Lola, Prodrive and USF1 compete for a 2011 spot. Maybe the FIA will make the right choice next time.


I may have missed something, but I don't know of any European drivers who are alienated by USF1, and I believe that the buildings in NC are leased.

The idea of the four teams vying for a slot in 2011 is very good, although I don't know if Prodrive are really interested now...


Let Stefan GP race now, if the US team does eventualy shows up the 26 fastest cars race on Sunday.


+1 I don't particularly like the idea of slots. I say let whoever wants to race on any given weekend come in and try to qualify for 26 grid positions.

And with that I wonder if LucaBodoer would have qualified for a race at all last year.


This brings back the idea of pre qualifying as we had until the early 1990's. It's strange how we used to have pre qualifying, tonnes of in season testing and staff yet the costs were lower.

James, any idea why pre qualifying was taken away and any thoughts about whether it will come back?



It was pre-qualifying to whittle the grid down to those who went through to qualifying, and then the main qualifying session when the last 26 made it through to the grid.

Always amazed me how teams who had little or no chance of getting through (Life, Monteverdi, Andrea Moda et al) still had the money, and the determination to turn up to a grand prix, just to run early on a friday morning, and then pretty much pack up and go home.


Bernie made PreQ disappear when too many teams were too unprofessional for the image he wanted to project. I think the last straw was Andrea Moda.

I'm with Josh on this one, James. I've never seen anything in-depth on Andrea Moda, but, given the changes reaction to them put in motion, they seem to be the most influential (for the wrong reasons!) team in F1 over the last 20 years. How about posting a history on them?



Have you read Perry McCarthy's book? Flat Out Flat Broke, I think it's called.

Quite a bit on A Moda in there.



Not my thing really. I went into their garage a few times when they were trying to qualify and so on. Maybe it's one for the winter when things get quiet!


With mixed feelings I voted NO. I live in canada and have been an F1 fan for many years. It would be nice to have a team from the US, however this is not the right moment. Primarily since we don't have a US GP. Due to the fact that the FOM doesn't have an F1 race in the USA this year or even proposed. I believe USF1 has suffered greatly with out a race in the country and it's partly the FOM and FIA faults for USF1 to ensure the proper funding to compete. USF1 has had more time that any other team to prepare for this season and yet they are still not ready. A SHAME!

However, this does not give them an excuse to miss testing and 4 races out of the season. You enter F1 to win and not to miss a significant part of the season and ensure you are last or second last.

I think the FIA and FOM should make it mandatory for all teams to attend all preseason testing and all GP though out the season. This is very common with all other sports.

Bring on Stefan GP and Prodrive... them seemed ready!

JA, what are you thoughts on the ability for Stefan GP To make the grid in Bahrain? Or should we go back to previous years of operations, when you actually needed to qualify to race on race day. This might be good for underfunded teams however i feel that wouldn't be good for championships and credibility of the F1.


I need to dig around some more on Stefan to answer that.


Your right James, the FIA have got themselves into a mess. I think the main reason they were given an entry is because Formula One wants to break into the US, as good as that would be, the US aren't ready for F1 (this struggling team, no US drivers). The FIA will have to stick with them or its American dream will take another set back

la oreja de lauda

i agree. This is not a serious effort. We can wait until someone gets really interested, and put the resources to do it properly.

Sorry windsor, but was too big an enterprise for tou to handle, you are more like a politician, a lot of talk, but not a business man.


They shouldn't. As you say it would create a precedent and there's every possibility that Campos would want to do the same thing. Besides, I'm not convinced that they would be in a position to race by Barcelona.

Stefan are probably the "lesser of two evils" in this instance and should get their slot.

It does make you wonder why, if USF1 were so far in the design of their car, they didn't try to acquire the Toyota chassis. It probably all came down to USF1's lack of money, but they big advantage they have is that they have an entry and Stefan GP do not.


Oh hell. What IS this? FOUR races?

Just go ahead and give ammunition to the stereotype that an F1 team can't exist outside of the UK, and especially here.

I am BITTERLY disappointed. I feel betrayed, and just angry. Just as everyone does who's been rooting for this team.


Couldn't agree more....



Although I am British, I felt that the privateer teams are more preferrable to the manufacturers.

Campos and USF1 are making a mockery of this.


I would guess they haven't done this on purpose.

Pretty harsh.

I would guess those whose jobs depend on this feel worse than you do.


Put my sour remarks down to the initial shock TM, because I agree with you on this. The people who work there are really being hung out to dry: They had their hopes up enough to join the team. And I do feel bad for Windsor & Anderson - it's terrible to see the death of a dream. I hope something comes through for them in time to make the first race.

Everyone will, or has, cited to Andrea Moda, Lola etc. But, being calmer now, I'd have to say that this situation more closely fits all that I've read about BRM's difficult birth - both in the rhetoric and the delays.

Windsor & Anderson have filled the Berthon/Mays roles. Who will play Alfred Owen and Tony Rudd, I wonder?


It's not even worth voting on.



Not difficult to understand the disappointment, frustration, anger of those of you on your side of the Atlantic who wanted this to work.

But, what happens next?

It looks like the Concorde Agreement allows the new teams to miss a maximum of three races. So kicking USF1 out and allowing in Stefan in time for Bahrain, as proposed by many on this site, would surely put the FIA/Ecclestone in breach of contract. But if Stefan and USF1 can be persuaded to do the right deal that could be different. The deal could still be very complicated bearing in mind Hurley's and Lopez' involvement/investment.

Assuming USF1 stay in but miss races, according to the FIA they still get penalised, but how? Not much point to fine a team that has money troubles, or deduct points if/when they score some? If the FIA go lenient and don't penalise USF1, the other teams, who would be penalised in similar circumstances, are going to get mad. Also, it sets a precedent that other teams would surely want to exploit at some time in the future, the FIA will be well aware of that.

A further point is that the new investor mentioned by Anderson in the New York Times interview, would surely want his/her money spent building cars and getting the team to races, not paying fines to the FIA.

The final thing is missing the fourth race as requested by Anderson.

Changing the rules on an ad hoc basis? This may be more a Concorde Agreement issue than an FIA one, but the FIA is a signatory to Concorde.

How much more complicated can it get?



"In an ideal world" USF1 should be allowed to skip ALL races... FOREVER!

It's already outrageous!

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

I think that the problem started when the hired Peter Windsor to manage and set up the team. He has been out of F1 for too long and there were many other more suitable candidates available.

Windsor overestimated his own abilities and bit off more than he could chew. His gung-ho attitude and cocky remarks did not endear him to the public or the vastly non-US based F1 audience.

I think that a wider question is as to whether there is the US actually wants F1. They have shunned the sport for too many years. The bottom line is that there is not enough overtaking to satisfy the American sports fan that is used to following drivers that score thousands of points or where the lead changes 50 times over a race.

Football (soccer) never really caught on because there are too few goals scored...while basketball where points are scored every couple of minutes did.

RIP USF1....why not just put the effort into sponsoring a decent US driver to compete in F1?

Campos and USF1 should be hung out to dry. Stefan GP are getting their act together and chomping at the bit to get on the grid.

Windsor has seriously lost credibility over this and I would be disappointed if Speed TV renewed his contract.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

I think that Barbara Windsor would have done just as good a job as Peter.


Nicer tits too!


Who would play the Kenneth Williams role?


Wasn't Kenneth Williams a Virgin?, In which case it would be Richard Branston?


Nick Fry?! (~70% look-a-like)




I vote for Ron Dennis but he wouldn't say "Ooh Matron" more like.

"Emphatic injertection, clinical nurse manager!!!"


Nah I feel for Peter Windsor on this one. He's badly wanted to run an F1 team for ages (before this he tried unsuccessfully to set up a Japanese team in the 1990s I think) but I think you make a very good point about the US majority not wanting F1. That is ultimately where he and the team may have failed over sponsorship.

I don't think this year is viable for USF1 even if they skip four races but I'm not sure about Stefan GP. Yes they have the car and, in all likelihood, some solid resources but Mike Coughlan? After 2007? And Jacques Villeneuve?

If Stefan GP don't buy the USF1 team's franchise then from what I've heard they shouldn't be allowed in via the terms of the Concorde Agreement. So why not tell USF1 to spend a year getting sponsorship, redistribute the planned revenues among the rest of the teams and tell them (USF1) to come back in 2011? It's undoubtedly a loose argument on many legal levels but so, in many ways, is the Stefan GP entry if you listen to some people.


I bet Sebastian Vettel could do it if you gave him a pack of Carry On films from HMV for a weekend.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

A cross between Nick Fry and Chris Dyer


Formula One is the supposed pinnacle of motor sport. Teams that cannot make it to the grid deserve no place in this sport. Kick USF1 & Campos to if they dont make it to Bahrain.

This Stefan GP should not be racing in 2010 - they were turned down (presumably with good reason) by the FIA, and regardless of them grabbing headlines by testing cars, they should have to wait until the process of choosing more teams comes around again. Whether that be this year opening the situation up for many new teams to apply for next year, or not adding additional teams for the foreseeable future.


This is the most sensible argument on the subject. As a fan for 30 years I don't really want to go back to the days of teams miles off the pace and going out of business all the time.


I here what you are saying about the pace of the lesser teams, but the last two or three years has seen quite a few teams go.


At the end of the day, the FIA needs to be pragmatic (which might even be possible for the FIA now that Todt is in charge).

They should look at what they deem to be the financial viability of the team.

The last thing F1 needs is a team coming in and not making it. That is my main concern on Campos and USF1 (the long term viability of the teams).

I appreciate the situation with Prodrive a couple of years ago, but there you have one of the leading motorsport orgs in the world struggling with seemingly no way to get into the sport, when two teams have been picked on what looks to me to be marketing based opportunities.

As for Stefan GP, I would welcome them if they are a serious outfit (I dont know anything as to their real funding arrangements or expertise in terms of staff), but didnt all non cosworth teams get excluded from the bids last time round (so why should someone come in now and buy a turn-key Toyota powered entry and sneak in)?

I suspect if USF1 do get in, they will be miles off the pace. At least Campos were sensible enough to sub out the chassis design to Dallara.


Wow this is a difficult one.

Although personally I would prefer Stefan GP to be in F1 than USF1 (mainly because I'd like to see how the Toyota designed car goes as well as Villeneuve), I think it would be unfair not to give USF1 a second chance (with conditions).

Stefan weren't given a place but they have taken the decision first to take and then drop legal proceedings against the FIA, and secondly to carry on spending money, getting rights to the Toyota, and shipping equipment all over the world. That's their choice and neither the FIA or USF1 owe them anything.

I would say give USF1 the chance, as long as the FIA is absolutely convinced (beyond reasonable doubt) that they will make it after 4 races and indeed last the rest of the season and beyond. FOTA and the FIA haven't made it easy for new teams by leaving it so late to finalise the rules, and so they should be given some leeway.

If not then I'd say give Stefan GP the chance.


I have mixed emotions about this. Whilst I admire Peter Windsor for his journalistic capabilities, we are talking about formula one, the pinnacle of motor sport. (I voted No)

In the recent past all sorts of hurdles have been put in place by the FIA to ensure the viability of any new entrants. The $40 million bond, the 107% qualifing rule. Then during 2009 the FIA, concerned F1 would be left with a depleted grid, made the knee jerk reaction to give entries Campos, USF1, Manor and later Lotus. With established and proven motor sport outfits like Pro Drive and Lola left out. Something wrong with the selection process we all cried...apparently on deaf ears.

Another shot in the foot for the FIA, who appear unable to make any decision without due diligence of the long term consequences.

If the intention is bring back the 'garagistas' lets ensure they are financially and competitively viable by allowing customer cars.


It almost seems as if the FIA needs to audit the operation of both USF1 and Stefan GP, assess the engineering capabilities and management capabilities of both teams, and make a decision based on which team looks they have a better chance of surviving in the long run. Maybe the best way to do that would be for the FIA to create an audit team of experienced engineers and managers from the other teams with experienced members. For example an audit team consisting of Ross Brawn, Patrick Head, Frank Williams, Martin Whitmarsh, Nick Worth, Christian Horner and Adrian Newey, and maybe even Jean Todt. Let those guys audit both teams and make the decision based on what they think.


Hmm, huge conflict of interest I think


Yes and also I imagine it's more down to funding than lack of staff capability. It would also be incredibly patronising to have rivals come and check out whether they thought you were good enough to enter their gang. As for Jean Todt welll he's in the FIA so yes he should have a say with the rest of the FIA. But not the F1 teams. Teams becoming the governors of the sport is happening too much already and it's a terrible state of affairs.


If you're only looking at the short term then you only consider which team has the most funding. However if you make the choice purely based on the team with more funding what happens if their car happens to be a complete dog, and cannot finish races, then the funding is going to dry up pretty fast as sponsors walk away, and the team will fold because all their funding has disappeared. So is it not better to select the team with the best chance of actually functioning well even if their funding is lean at the moment? As a well functioning team will have a car that will be somewhat competitive, and in the long run sponsors will be attracted to the team, and the chance of the team surviving increases, as they will have a good car, good team, and good funding. And a strong team that can survive for more than half a season is good for the sport. The last thing F1 needs is teams folding after half a season.

I don't really see other team principals auditing new teams as a conflict of interest, afterall who else would be approriately qualified? They would purely be conducting due diligence on behalf of the FIA. They wouldn’t be examining the profile of new team’s front wings, etc, but rather accessing the procedures and processes that the teams have in place.

You have to remember that the most funding does not automatically equal the most success.


Yes, and I doubt that any of those mentioned would have the time...


"Either way, the last thing F1 needs is a team which peters out during the season."

Nice touch James.

What would Peter Windsor say if he was still at SpeedTV looking at a team in USF1's state? I bet he would say that it's unprofessional and that they don't belong in F1.

USF1's gotta go!!


Totaly agree, spot on!

la oreja de lauda

good point. Unless it was a friend of his.

He is good at talking, but this a a difficult task he got into.

Sorry mate, just keep talking, you become quite good at it.


Very strange , as it stands the car surely wouldn't be competitive and where will they test before Barcelona , would they ask for special tests?
Don't think enough people from fia to usf1 have done there homework


USF1 asked for and got dispensation for separate testing in the USA before it became clear there were financial problems because it made sense from a geographic point of view. There are tracks in the USA which are suitable and the "group testing" is only a gentleman's agreement which USF1 was not in a position to keep that agreement.

The bigger problem is that the auditing process should have picked up the weakness of USF1's operation upon entry and denied it accordingly. Granted, USF1's hopes probably didn't make an accurate assessment any easier, but the FIA have painted themselves into a corner with this one.


They have already been granted permission to test at Barber MotorSport park in the US.

Its a great little track & will host an Indycar race later in the year whihc I hope to be going to since I'll be over in the US at the time of the race 🙂


I would imagine they can test at any track of a suitable standard, a number of teams have used Silverstone this year. However the in-season test ban will come into force in March. As there is no sign of a car I can't see them been able to test before the test ban.

Perhaps J.A. Could clarify the terms of the test ban for us?


The next test after Barcelona this week will be the Young Guns test in November.


Eager to see what FIA do. Quite an interesting stuff as James wrote... I would prefer to promote Stefan team on the grid as probably no other team can be ready for the season and I do not agree with any excemption to USF1. They knew the rules, they knew the tasks and if they are not up to it.. sorry, but rules are rules... Anyway, still do not understand how Max's comitee could have skipped Aston Martin or Lola in the selection


Ideally, Stefan GP would be given the go ahead, with USF1 welcomed if/when they're able to get it together.

The chances of all the teams making past the first year are slim, so I don't see the harm in allowing more of them to have a go.


I like it. Survival of the fittest.

Only thing could be lack of space re. Martin Colyer's sensible post further above.


Stefan GP say they are ready to race and USF1 want to miss the first 4 races. I see an easy solution to this.

Provisionally give the slot to Stefan GP for the first 4 races.

If they are still around come Barcelona and USF1 are finally ready then make them share a garage for the remaining races.

Although I can see Williams making a big fuss and stopping this being allowed before it's even put to the other teams.


I think he's getting at it is always Williams.

Williams didn't want MS to test in the Ferrari last year after Massa's incident.

Williams were oppose to running 3 cars

Williams opposed abandoning KERS

See a pattern?


Andy C I couldn't possibly agree with you more if I tried.

Well done sir.

I support Hamilton but Williams is by far my favourite team - always gritty, determined, always stand up for themselves, and as you say lapdogs to nobody.


I dont see what the problem is with that.

They didnt want MS to test a ferrari, because it was against the rules.

They didnt want to run three cars, because it would have pushed them further down the grid (i.e three ferraris, three mclarens, three redbulls), and it is a ridiculous idea totally against the history of the sport.

They didnt want to get rid of Kers as they invested heavily in the technology and now it is wasted. Its now getting rolled out on a Porsche hybrid racer in GTs.

Williams are entirely open to disagree with these points. They are not lapdogs for Ferrari.

And this is not getting at Ferrari


I see, I thought there was some news about Williams that I had not heard.


Because Williams have been complaining about ideas which contradict the Concorde Agreement for several years. Garage-sharing would come under the heading of "contradicting the Concorde Agreement".


Ooh... 666 votes for "no". Ominous. As someone on the left side of the Atlantic, it hurts to say "no" but three other new teams are apparently able to make it. It's called the piranha club for a reason. Not that the selection process can't be blamed for part of USF1's demise. As disappointing as it is to not get a US based team, hopefully something good comes of it, like an external audit of the selection process. Don't think Todt would be willing to rake himself over the coals though. A nice Sunday paper story about graft and corruption would probably spoil his morning coffee and croissant.


No, USF1 said many times that they would be ready, they´ve been lying for sometime and FIA shouldn´t allow them to miss a quarter of the season.

There´s also no garanty that they will be ready in May, so in my opinion if Stegan GP is ready FIA should give them the entry , if not , there´s no problem on having only 12 teams and USF1 or someother team can try again in 2011.


No, they should not, nor should any team, unless there has been an unfortunate event, such as the plane or ship transporting the freight submerging itself under the sea...

This is a ludicrous situation that the sport finds itself in. However, it must be salvaged in the best way possible to allow the sport to move on with minimal damage inflicted upon its image globally. That is why the FIA must decide whether there will be either 12 or 13 teams competing for the duration of the 2010 calender. Leaving aside the fact that 4 races is a wholly unacceptable amount to miss, it must be asked whether USF1 is capable of sustaining itself for a majority of the season and through several seasons beyond. From the outside, it doesn't, and neither for it to meet its new, self- created and unfair deadline of Barcelona, with safe cars and an organised race crew.

The best route for the FIA is to seek how to fine the outfit and eradicate them from the entry list as soon as possible.

With StefanGP, it must be assumed that the FIA must enact an investigation into the viability of the outfit, before it can be granted an entry. It must also be assumed that, providing it meets the FIA's criteria, the team can only be granted a place at and for the 4th race, in accordance to the Concorde Agreement.

If the FIA is responsible for the sport, and to ensure that it is not brought into disrepute, it must surely use rules to remove USF1 of their license to compete, and to either grant it to StefanGP, or to withhold it for a selection process to decide a 13th team for the 2011 season.


Everything depends on the FIA's assessment of whether USF1 is likely to get over this "bump in the road". If the fundamentals are there (or stand a reasonable chance of being there) then the team should get a dispensation, albeit possibly with some sort of penalty attached.

Stefan GP has, to me, never looked like a particularly serious outfit. The promise of a repainted Toyota chassis and Kazuki Nakajima hardly makes the heart pound faster. In all probability, Stefan may well have better short term prospects than USF1 (it is virtually a turnkey operation) but does it have a proper long term strategy? Presumably, its viability (or lack of) was considered and dismissed when the team applied to enter F1 first time around. At the moment it's even struggling to convince Bridgestone to supply it with GP2 tyres so it can go testing.

Either way, the recent exercise for prospective new entrants has shown there to be a lot of interest from people who want to be in F1. If the FIA deemed it suitable to run an open selection process the first time why should it grant Stefan an entry by default, simply because it happens to be available? If USF1 fails there's no guarantee that Stefan will take its place.


Lot's of good sense here. Thanks for it.


This is turning into amateur hour.


,,,,and you............


James, what happened to Bernie's proposal that every team made a $40m deposit to enter F1?

Doesn't sound like such a daft idea to me now.


Ironically it went because teams couldn't afford to get into the sport because of the bond. Now it seems some teams can't afford to get into the sport without it, and the bond's removal means the clause permitting USF1 to delay entry by a year in exchange for losing part of the deposit (thus resolving the mess tidily) has also gone.


Cheers. Looks to me now though as if it was the right idea.

If you can't afford the bond, you shouldn't really be getting into F1 in the first place.


James, I'd lay off any suggestions that Stefan could replace USF1, if that happens Peter Windsor might want his old job back!


all of them. F1 racing magazine, speed tv, f1 tours. Am i missing any?


Press conferences?

Replaced with the brilliant James Allen...


F1 press conference MC duties...


How can they be two months behind the other new teams? Even Campos have a car ready to go.


“Why would they give us a franchise and just, the first time there’s a bump in the road, yank it and put it out of business?” he said. “That’s definitely not the message I’m getting from them. They want to help us, not shut us down.”

I can't help thinking this shows too much thinking from the perception of American Football and US style sports, where teams are given a franchise, rather than "given an entry".

Each team is not a franchise of the F1 brand, it is an entrant in the sport. If they are not ready to race, then they should be gone.

At the time, USF1 definitely seemed to be a legitimate entry. Pete Windsor is hugely respected and this is a surprise. Prodrive had pulled out before, so should have been trusted less. I criticised Max a lot, but I don't think the choice between these teams was bad.

Giving Stefan the entry would let some cars which exist, with a team that exists, race. Which is what we all want. We don't know where they will go from here, but it looks fun - and having Jacques Villeneuve could be fun.


It seems to me to be ridiculous to allow any team to participate in a GP without having carried out any pre-season testing.

We have already seen how many red flags have been caused in testing to date, the majority by new teams trying to prove their car.

Do we really want to see a GP weekend constantly interupted by red flags and impeded by slow cars clogging the circuit.

I would sooner see a smaller field of quality cars than a field made up of make weights. I know a team has to start from the bottom and a big problem is the lack of testing time available but I do not think a GP weekend is the time to be trying out a car for the first time. I have to admit Montezemelo's words are begining to ring true.


Formula 1 is in such a crazy state of flux at the moment that everyone should be given every available opportunity to come good on their commitments. To not give USF1 more time is mean spirited bearing in mind that the FIA chose to shift emphasis to new privateer teams.

I like the USF1 concept and it is refreshing to have a non EU constructor in the world championship. The idea of Americas brightest designers, engineers and fabricators competing with Europe's best is very charming.

I don't have anything against stefan GP and i would like them to be granted an extra slot on the grid, but if i had to choose between the two then it would definitely be USF1. Long term, USF1 can make a bigger contribution to the sport by putting down fresh roots in the US, building an american fan-base and creating demand for stateside F1 events.


you are assuming that USF1 will/can get their act together. I don't think they can. This isn't just a minor hiccup. It's a major screwup. They've got to go!!

The only US team and they can't find any sponsors to back them up in the world stage. Shameful!!


This is all well and good, it would be great to see this new rush of competition, but let's keep in mind that the competition really started the day entry was granted. I don't think USF1 managed that part of the competition well at all, so how can we expect them to manage the racing part of the equation?


You are correct that the competition started when they were granted entry and USF1 actually got off to great start by persuading Chad Hurley to invest in the project. We don't know exactly what USF1 have been up too but perhaps they got complacent after securing such a high profile investor and thought that other investment would easily fall into place.

Maybe they have done a poor job at raising the neccesary capital but i see USF1 as a longterm ideological vision for an entire continent and this is why its worth giving them more time to get their shit together.


It's all well and good to talk about "...a longterm ideological vision...".

Remember USF1 entered in order to compete in 2010 too.


Well, I am on the USF1's side as Stefan GP is not a new team - under term 'new team' I understand a group of engineers who construct their own car from scratch, not buy it. Don't have anything against Stefan, but US F1 deserves some patience. They are doing it their own way, which is how it should be. Let's give them just a bit more time.


They knew the rules when they started, it was always going to be hard, they messed it up.

As for the talk of Stefan GP, they were not even around when the selection process was run so why should they be given the nod over N-Technology, Prodrive or Lola all established race engineering businesses that could, and should have been given entries?

Play fair, dont start the season with flexible interpretation of the rules, you failed we dont want another Life or Moneytron excuse of team that simply is not good enough to build a car let alone a competitive car.


I think you have been drinking James

"Then when BMW failed to sign the Concorde Agreement an entry was offered to Lotus".

Facepalm- and replace Lotus with Sauber


No, Sauber only got an entry when Toyota left.

Lotus got BMW-Sauber's original place, as James said.


Yes exactly I was agreeing with James. My 'No' starter was aimed at Machista's original post.


No, BMW failed to sign in August, Lotus got the entry before BMW agreed the deal with Qadbak. When that deal then fell through, Sauber bought the team


First, if USF1 really had their act together, the clash last summer between the teams and the FIA should not have affected their ability to make the first race of the season. It really boils down to poor planning and a definite lack of finances.

One other thing that has really affected this team is their public relations . . . or lack thereof. They have failed to use the "new media" to their advantage. The team has built no excitement among F1 fans in the US . . . not to mention corporate america in the US.

I do hope they do make it to the grid sometime in 2010 . . . but I really doubt it will happen.


USF1 is a sham. Peter Windsor is a [mod].
Best to let Stefan GP in with what may well be a good car. Id also like to see JV back, Stefan - JV is much more interesting than USF1 - Lopez ... 🙂


Bit of a tough one this, my heart wants to see a stars and stripes emblazoned F1 car in the field this year but at the same time i do get the for and against arguements! After all, Virgin and Lotus managed it in the same time period. Maybe they should just turn up in Bahrain with whatever they've got! That WOULD be interesting. Lol. 4 wheels first race and then progress from there!


This may sound cold and harsh but I don't think the FIA should let USF1 miss 4 races. It is not within the rules.

My main reason is because if Lotus and Virgin can do, why cant they? What excuse do they have? None! They haven't fulfilled any of their promises so far. What reason do we have to believe that they will be ready to race in Spain?

I must say I am angry it has come down to this. I was looking forward to the battle of the newbies. So far its between Lotus and Virgin.


And even then it's a clear win for Lotus, solely by having a car that doesn't fall apart when you drive it...


I think they should not be allowed to miss the first races but USF1 is,in my opinion,FIA's hope to get more TV ratings from USA.

I think Mr E will have his word about what FIA will decide.


The problem with that supposition is that Bernie came out, early on, with his much-publicized opinion that USF1 wouldn't be a viable team.

As far as USF1 finding sponsorship from that point on, Bernie's statement must have been the kiss of death. I can't see him assisting USF1 now, after causing so much potential harm at such a critical point in the team's development.

As far as USF1's right to miss four races, consider their (short) history. The very little we've heard from Charlotte has been just so much nonsense. I wouldn't put any credibility into Ken Anderson's statement now.

They're cooked. Serve 'em up.

And forget Stephan, too.

The fair way to handle the situation would be to start the season without either USF1 or Stephan. Open the bidding again for the slot next year, but this time, perform due diligence before awarding the spot.

I'd like to see an F1 "home team," but I'd like to see it started by professionals who have track records of success at the top levels. If USF1 were to somehow make the grid, I'm sure those clowns would just be an embarrassment to us.


if stefan gp is already ready and has everything set, why should a team which had way more time not be able to do it.

they will be just the laughing stock. they should bow out gracefully and let stefan gp do a proper job.


Why should USF1 be giving special dispensation to miss four races and start at Barcelona when the other two and a half teams ready to go (half being Stefan GP)in the same time frame


"“Why would they give us a franchise and just, the first time there’s a bump in the road, yank it and put it out of business?”

Because you're just a pawn in a bigger business - F1.

F1 does not make money by bending over backwards for modern day Simteks and Pacifics.

There are other teams breathing down the necks of USF1 - one of which has a car ready and fired up.


and andrea moda, you forgot to mention.

That was the bigest joke in the history of motorsport.


Closely followed by the 1997 Lola entry.

Even then however, with three months work they turned up to the first race in Austrailia - Granted the car was about as aerodynamic as a crumpled piece of tin foil - but they made it!

Andrea Moda - how not to run a team!


I predicted on 606 that if Qadbak had bought BMW Sauber, judging by the Notts County shenanigans that BMW would have become the modern day Andrea Moda.

😀 that story still makes me chuckle.


For the record, I am an American and I voted No.

New teams face multiple hurdles even if they show up with a car in Bahrain. As a rule, compared to the established teams, new teams are underfunded, have underdeveloped chassis, get less TV time since they are always at the back and have no hope of sharing in the TV income from the FIA since they will not be in the top 10 at the end of the season.

Given the challenges of starting up a new team, the least they can do is show up with a car. If that very basic of all ingredients is missing, a team has no hope of survival.

Better cut the cord before the season starts rather than USF1 going under after the season starts because the fans can see that on TV and that brings more bad press to F1. Right now, only the diehard F1 fans (who follow this blog and winter testing, etc) will hear about the demise of USF1. After the season starts, it will be discussed on TV every two weeks (at GP weekends) in front of casual F1 fans.


Wouldn't the logical decision be to combine Campos and USF1 and let Stephan take the remaining place?


i don't think that is an option. Who would have been the first person to talk about that?

I heard it several times by now.


I think missing races is unacceptable with this much advance notice, give Stefan GP, and more importantly Prodrive and Lola a chance.

I like the idea of a team super licence, granted when a team completes a shakedown at an approved venue. The grid slot is only awarded upon the issuing of the licence. The grid slot is reserved for existing teams provided they shakedown two weeks before the first race. If not, this grid slot is available to all teams awaiting a slot on a first-shakedown-first-served basis.


A neat idea on the face of it James. BUT, how is a new team to attract sponsorship/investment if the team is not guaranteed to have the right license until a fortnight before the first race?


Stefan GP appear to be well funded and they don't have a grid slot for this year. My idea ensures that only the solidly funded teams make it to the grid reducing the chances of missed races.


Yes, Stefan GP appear to be well-funded, at the moment. Lots of rumour though as to where the money is coming from, maybe some of it is from the Serbian government.

How often are governments going to cough up? We know, for example, that the UK goverment won't.

Stefan are also unusual in that they have bought an unused F1 car and it's probably a fairly good one, that possibility won't happen very often.


Prodrive missed heir opportunity last time around so if people are that strict with USF1 surely the same should go to Prodrive.


Give the place to Lola - they are much more likely to come good.


Like in 1997? Lol


It's not really the same company now under Martin Birrane as it was in 1997, under Eric Broadley.

Far too late to involve Lola or Prodrive this year, 2011 is what matters, unless "the right deal" is done between USF1 and Stefan to take up the entry in 2010.

It makes you wonder though, it's all very well for Stefan to use a Toyota built car in 2010, wht can they manage for 2011? Will Toyota design another car for them? Have they the ability to do that for themselves?


They only sucked because Mastercard wanted them to enter a year early or they were going to pull funding - they were originally preparing for 1998. So they had to build a car in three months - while USF1 have had a year since they set up!

Then Mastercard's unique way of funding failed, and the team folded in Brazil.

Did you hear about the Mastercard Lola's? They had the expiry date stamped on the bottom... boom boom!


Sorry, but no.

Everyone knew when the season was due to start and everyone else (we think) will make it on time. Why the exception for usf1?

Theres no way even if granted that they'll be there in barcelona - sponsors will have already lost confidence.

This is just a last ditch attempt at stalling the inevitable. Let Stefan race, at least they've shown spirit and determination.


I'm undecided on whether they should be allowed to miss the race.

On one hand I think it would set a really dangerous precedent that could potentially end in a mess of teams gradually dropping out or missing races they don't fancy due to cost of travel etc.

On the other I think it would be good for the overall health of the sport to have a US team - I think the only reason they got a spot in the first place - so maybe they should be given some time.

Possibly the FIA could get the other teams involved. Let them miss 4 races with a clear statement that this is a one off. Get all the other teams agree to this - like a team name change. If they don't then they are out.

One thing that should not be a factor is Stefan GP. I don't believe that Stefan should be given the entry automatically. There is something decidedly shady about the whole operation. I'm just waiting for Flavio, Symonds & Piquet to join up to get all the cheats together with Coughlan and Ryan.

If a space does become available then Lola, Prodrive etc. should be given an opportunity to reapply.


Well, as an American and long time follower of F1 and Peter Windsor on Speedtv, it would be a real shame. They are only trying to live the American dream and do something that nobody thinks they can do. It doesn't seem like they have had the support from the F1 community like I hoped they would. Oh well I guess, hopefully all the guys at USF1 can move on from this if it doesn't work out.


Total loss of authority by the FIA. 🙁

Extremely dubious initial selection process for new teams, denying a place to an obvious high class well funded competitor (Prodrive) and giving a place to those on a financial knife edge who might use a Cosworth engine.

Two new teams in disarray much on the same dodgy basis that Donington floundered.

Then a unilateral declaration by Todt that it is ok to miss 3 races, followed by a rapid and very official denial by the FIA as a body, who made it very clear that no one may miss any races.

Now to even think that it will be ok to miss out the first four races is ludicrous.

IMHO missing even one race is a default and forfeits the place, let Stephan in instead, they have already sent the gear out, showing a decent slice of commitment. This is all Gordon Brown's fault.


Why is it the fault of the British Prime Minister? USF1 are American and Stefan GP are Serbian and the FIA are based in Paris. I see no area where Gordon Brown could have intervened.


Nick clegg is not entirely blameless, either.


Personally Steven, im all for blaming David Cameron 😉


Disagree, it must be Brown!!


🙂 As a matter of principle, the unelected GB is responsible for all ills.


IMHO it will be a farce if USF1 are allowed to miss the first four races of the season.

Stefani GP appear to have the ability to start racing from the first race of the season, kick out USF1 and give Stefani their place on the grid!


I don't understand Ken's argument that USF1 should be allowed to miss several races. Quite apart from the precedent it sets, or that Stefan GP is likely to be ready to compete in Bahrain.

If we accept Ken's assertion that the team's difficulties are financial, not technical. How is missing multiple races going to attract new sponsors? The team failed to attract advertisers when they weren't a public failure. Why would a company looking for success and glamour invest now.

On the other hand. If we accept the orthodoxy that USF1 is having problems producing the car. Why should the FIA wait for a race-worthy product after so many missed deadlines (Early November roller anyone?) and now an admission of money problems.

All this smells of Ken Anderson attempting to keep some value in the only asset he has left, the entry.


For selfish reasons, I think I would prefer Stefan GP over USF1, if only because

a) they would get Jacques Villeneuve back into the sport, meaning FIVE World Champs competing this season and

b) they have Bernie in their corner, so must be more financially viable than USF1 and

c) they would enable a large proportion of the Toyota staff at Cologne to regain their employment

I harbour no ill will towards USF1, only regret that they appear to have distanced the US from F1 when the object was to bring them closer... As soon as they shelved the plans to have American drivers, I wondered "what's the point?" Let's face it, there is no way the American fans would want to get behind a rookie Argentinian GP2 driver and whoever else they were going to get. Until there is a chance of putting together a competitive American F1 team, so that drivers of the calibre of a Marco Andretti or a Graham Rahal can commit to the sport, I cannot see America falling in love with F1. It is all a bit chicken and egg, though what with there being no races in the States (we really need two GP every season due to the size of the market) and how do young open wheel drivers who might be interested in F1 get their superlicences?

Richard Craig


Well said sir. They would have been better off just grabbing a few USAC/ARCA/NHRA/lower division (Nationwide) drivers, if only to generate domestic buzz. What they should have done was used "the Raikonnen Rule" and gotten a dispensation to qualify someone for their superlicense via testing.

In a way, this reminds me of the situation I read about in the UK, namely the lack UK presence in MotoGP. It's typically attributed to the inability of riders to attract domestic sponsorship money to go with them into international racing. The available sponsors are getting what they want and need in BSB.

Over here, NASCAR sucks up sponsorship the same way. They'll get nothing out of an F1 sponsorship - especially if the announced driver isn't American.

They need to take a page out of US Cycling, which got onto solid footing via US Postal Service sponsorship. The Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard all use parts of their recruiting budgets on racing teams in every form of American racing. Multi-time NHRA champion Tony Schumacher is known as "The Sarge" for that reason.

Go Navy...or Air Force. Blue and White being the American international racing colors, they would fit.

Won't happen. Too bad.


I'm not sure that the spectacle of F1 is going to be hugely enhanced by the inclusion of the new teams, albeit that their state of preparedness varies widely. The top and not so top established teams have been working on their 2010 cars since the back end of last season, and are participating fully in the pre season tests. The major challenge of the new teams (primarily USF1 and Campos Meta) seems to be focussed on just participating in the season. Even if they achieve this, which seems far away, they only look likely to be racing each other, reliability and financial oblivion. Hardly enriching the sport at the recently raised level of professionalism. Having said that, there is a bit of me that misses the spirited amateur outfits of the late 80's and early 90's. Ossela, Andrea Moda Formula, AGS, Rial, Onyx etc...once you start listing them you realise just how many there were. Can't recall a single one of them doing much in the sport, but certainly a way in for drivers who went on to better things.


You missed out Simtek and Forti.

Are Sauber the best privateer team since the 80s?


Nope don't forget Stewart who held their own since they started in 2007. A win, however fortunate, podiums and points, until they were bought by Ford, became Jaguar, and then sold... and are now Red Bull Racing


I missed plenty more, Eurobrun, Zakspeed, Leyton House, the list isn't quite endless, but it does seem like it.

Sauber certainly have stood out from the crowd, but I would say Stewart Grand Prix was the most successful if you follow its evolution through Jaguar to Red Bull. It occupies the same HQ and employs many of the same staff, so I would count it as the same outfit.


Which drivers? My memories of these teams are that they had pay drivers who were mainly rubbish and who disappeared as quickly as the teams.


Depending on who you define as teams in that class and how you rate a drivers career achievemnts, I suggest Eddie Cheever, Alessandro Nannini, Fernando Alonso, Mass, Boesel, Tarquini, Gugelmin, Jarno Trulli and quite a few more. Not all world beaters, but most showed serious promise or certainly justified their existence in the top flight, one has won two world titles and counting, a few made their mark in the USA.


First and foremost I'm a proud citizen of The US, and it saddens me to see the struggles that the USF1 Team has gone through. That being said, supporting failure begets further failure, and that's why I say that USF1 should not be allowed to miss any races. It would undermine the efforts of the other teams to allow anyone else to miss races and still be able to compete in the remaining races.

If the FIA allows USF1, or any other team, to miss four races--21% of the entire season--then that team should not be awarded any points in the Constructor's Championship.


Do you really think they would get any points?


Yeah I don't think USF1 were on track to grab too many points anyway.


What a farce F1 must look like to those outside of F1 (F1 fans expect nothing less from the shambolic FIA and their inept management).

I'd like to know what the heck it's got to do with the FIA in any case which teams race in F1, this should be a FOM/CVC or better still a FOTA matter), the FIA should be nothing more than referees - Oh how I wish FOTA had followed through with breakaway series, it was a chance to start over. I'd be amazed if this year which looks to have the potential to be one of the best fo0r many a year don't skew with the results at some point as it suits their wants, I will never forget or forgive how the FIA stole Hamilton's Spa victory and gave it to Massa (and Massa still maintains he won that fair and square poor disillusioned chap).

No, if any of the new teams can't commit to the season they should be got rid of with the slot being handed to an outfit that could (Prodrive/Aston Martin anyone).


This will make a joke out of the FIA and F1. The selections process has now been shown to be a charade. To give USF1 a chance to miss 4 races - almost a quarter, will further underline this incompetency.

It will also be a tacit admission that USF1 is only there to make up grid numbers, as without any pre season testing, and missing 4 races, they cannot have the any modicum of respectable reliability or pace.

For a sport that prides itself in being at the pinnacle of its sphere of operation, allowing a team that has not shown the level of professionalism and seriousness expected (not addressing rumours, no consistent messages, unclear statements, no car at this stage, etc) into the sport makes a mockery of the claim, and undermines F1 as a phenomenon.

Stefan GP may never be mid fielders or front runners, but if entries are really based on teams showing they have what it takes to be in F1, the Stefan GPP should be given a chance. They have the car, they have the staff, they have the drivers, and they have the funds, and are ready to go! What else is needed?

This is a chance for the FIA to show that it is run by people who have half a brain. Something tells me i will be disappointed.


Just like the rest of the crap they have come out with, this is another load. I'd put money that if the FIA granted it they wouldn't make the 5th race and it would be excuse time again. They are wasting everyone's time.

I wanted them to make the grid but they have made a mockery of those cheering them on with their dishonesty.

Give Stefan the slot, who knows the Toyota might be a decent car to boot.


USF1 would open up the American market for F1 but i don't see why they should get to miss 4 races.

I personally cant see them sticking around for 10years either...


No! It makes a mockery of the absolute definition of an entry in to the championship.


Look, I've got plans. Within 3 years my team joke gp wants to be fighting for the championship. We can get someone else to build our cars, and engines, and gearboxes. A mate of mine has some spare rims and I'm sure we can get some reeves and mortimer remoulds cheap for them. Drivers......erm yeah, we'll announce them er soon. Pls give us a slot pls pls pls with cherries and all that stuff. I can even show you a picture of an f1 car to prove how serious we are!

(ps - tell bernie to be ready with his chequebook to bail us out once everyone realises I haven't a clue)

see you at the 1st race when ever that is....haven't even looked yet.


Can I join Joke GP as Head designer?

I've stolen the old designs for the Arrows A22.


I got thrown out of my families Christmas Monopoly game for cheating. Can I be the technical advisor?


hahaha..."peters out"....nice play on words there james. good one. i take it you are not exactly a fan of mr windsor.

Adrian Setterfield

Hi James,

You paint a very clear picture of the situation. I think that while Stefan GP may be ready for Bahrain, where will they be (in terms of performance) by the end of the season? By running a second hand Toyota they would be in good stead for now but without understanding the package they are operating there would be no development (apart from what Toyota supply) and how would they go about producing a car for next year from scratch? In terms of viability, Stefan GP don't appear to have enough capacity to be a fully fledged team.

As for USF1, while they are not going to be ready until Barcelona, when they start their first race, they will be running a completely unique package that they have constructed all the way from the first concept.

USF1 has formed a new team, in the US, away from all established formula one professional knowledge and talent that exists in Europe (even if they've taken some talent with them). The fact that they are approaching formula 1 in this way harks back to the genesis of great teams. They will have a fresh approach and will bring new ideas to F1.

While I am frustrated by US F1 not being on the grid for Bahrain and would love to see a huge grid, if US F1 is granted this extension within in a couple of years, they will be bringing great things to Formula 1.

James, has there ever been a team that has bought a chassis, engine and the support of a manufacturer and then made a great impact on formula one?

As a side note, having a team based in the US may create some interest in the states which could only help to inspire a return to racing in the US.


"... has there ever been a team that has bought a chassis, engine and the support of a manufacturer and then made a great impact on formula one? ..."

Lord Hesketh bought a March car and was not only making points, but also podiums in the first year (with James Hunt as driver). A young designer was working on the car, his name Harvey Postlethwaite...


Not that I can think of


Not quite, as Brawn swapped engines and put Merc in there. They were previously Honda engines.


Arguably Frank Williams entered the sport this way, back in 1969 -- I think it's fair to say he's done a lot for the sport since!


I think we'd have to go all the way back to Rob Walker and his privateer Lotus!


The only reason to allow them to skip races is to spare the FIA's blushes over the selection process. Had they acted in the best interest of the sport instead of the best interests of Max's engineered argument with FOTA, then they wouldn't be in this mess. How Todt chooses to deal with this will show whether the FIA is going to change or if we'll get more of the same.

There is no place to hide in F1, and that's the way it should be. A new team should be up to the job of getting to the track. USF1 aren't even up to that.


"Does the FIA believe that Stefan is viable and will be able to move beyond the ’second hand Toyota’ phase and develop into a proper team?"

Isn't it already a proper team...?


i think it's time that bernie starts talking. It's just three weeks to the first race. I think he can't wait much longer. We'll hear from him this week.


Good Mosleyist - dead Mosleyist


The answer to your question "Does USF1 have the legs to still be in F1 in ten years if it is given a second chance now?" is YES!

As a fan of USF1, our shared hope and support hasn't evaporated for USF1. In fact, fans are coming together to contribute to their team in any way we can. And, the USF1 is listening: "I am very appreciative of all the fans and am working hard to not let them down." Ken Anderson February 18, 2010 via an email response to an initiative to launch a fan-based fundraiser for USF1 - @supportUSF1.

For the fans, this is just getting started!

Todd Tweedy

USF1 Fan



I hope you're right. I'm calming down a bit, but I am still ticked. Guess it's dig-into-pocket time. But seriously, see my post above. Maybe the team SHOULD seek funding off Pentagon recruiting budgets. The National Team idea fits with that.


As much as I wanted USF1 to succeed, (I'm an American) they don't deserve a lick of special treatment. If they can't make the grid in the required time, then boo hoo for you. Anderson and Windsor have failed in every stated goal they've had. Why would anyone believe Anderson would be able to make his revised schedule?

Whether Serbia F1 gets the slot, or it's down to 24 cars doesn't really matter to me. Just that the teams should be able to survive.

I still feel Charlotte is a good option of a USA based F1 team. Hopefully, some competent Americans will step forward one day and do it up right.


Yes, of course we must help and encourage USF1 to make it onto the grid! Based on the history of Americans in GP racing (Mario Andretti, Dan Gurney, Phil Hill etc.), and the great tracks the GP teams raced on in US and Canada, and of course the fact our own (New Zealand) drivers like Bruce McLaren, Denny Hulme, Chris Amon, Graeme McRae etc., raced exstensively there, and also the Yanks introduced us to Formula A (F5000), so we go back a long way. (For us older fans). To me, it is important to keep USF1 going, I can't identify with some of these newfangled teams that are buying their way in with no history of involvement in, or knowledge of the sport.

PK. (NZ)


USF1 would have known the rules and details of the Concorde Agreement when they signed up. Other teams notably Lotus have managed to get themselves on board in considerably less time, so why should USF1 get any slack?

At the end of the day allowing teams to miss three races is plain daft, is a team that is doing poorly going to pull out 3 races from the end of the season? If that is the case conceivably using 2008 as an example there would only have been Ferrari and McLaren at the last three races and that would have been plain silly.


USF1 sounded shakey right from the start. I really don't see then getting their act together anytime soon. Stefan doesn't seem like a serious prospect either....yet. But Toyota must have some confidence in them at least having some money? Bottom line is that USF1 are struggling to make the grid, but have an entry. Stefan have cars AND some tech support from Toyota IF they can get the cash, but have no entry. Right now, I wouldn't be happy to say either team would make it through a season. Maybe if Stefan really wants in, he can merge with USF1 and then they have cars, an entry, and they can both then try to scrape together some funding. That's a better prospect for them than trying to go it alone right now.

Personally, just having 3 new teams in F1 is amazing and in itself is a hugely impressive job on the part of all involved.


Hello James,

Wouldn't all the signatories of the Concorde Agreement need to approve this lifeline towards USF1?

If so, wouldn't that include FOM/Bernie Ecclestone, who would rather see Stefan GP race in Bahrain?

That request from USF1 is likely to precipitate their demise and open the door to Stefan GP, which is possibly the whole point of this public outing.

Typical F1 politics at its best.



I say cut them some slack. Two years from now we might be talking about Danica Patrick and Marco Andretti and considerable interest from the largest economy in the world. Contrary to popular belief, many Americans love Formula 1. Guys like Michele Rahal and Ardy Arani are pretty knowledgeable and do a good job boosting the sport's profile in the face of overwhelming Nascar dominance.


Well, without knowing all the facts.

USF1 does not deserved to be in Barcelona.


“If we get a decision quickly, it triggers funding and we’re good to go"

....Um, does it? Failing to make the start of the season, losing your major investor and only driver makes sponsors want to invest in you more? From what I have heard the car isn't ready. When the car is ready it then won't have been tested and will break down at the first races it is at. This will also not be good for getting sponsors. I believe Peter Windsor fairly recently said something along the lines that they would get to Bahrain but the car wouldn't be pretty, which I assume meant not ready.

I wanted them to succeed, but I feel like they are fatally wounded now. They are not dead, but everyone knows they are going to die. Some people are politely saying that maybe it could still be OK, but really we are just all waiting round for them to die.

I suppose if they had a management restructuring and a rich backer came in, and the car suddenly actually came into existence then they could compete. ...But hey that's a lot of ifs.


The USF1 team is a scam. They had good intentions to begin with but over time they have gotten further and further behind schedule to the point where the team is no longer viable. Their lame press releases and "watch this space" attitude has compounded their problems getting sponsorship and general feeling of "not being quite right".

I feel embarrassed for Peter Windsor, a journo whom I have great respect for. He now looks like an idiot. I hope he will be seen again in the F1 paddock but fear it may be a long time.

Next Ken Anderson will be asking the FIA for a year off to get "ready".


Its a joke to think any team hoping for a place in F1 should be allowed such a huge concession. They are requesting to miss 20% of the season. TWENTY PERCENT!

Who in the real world has a boss who'd let them take Monday off because they can't afford the bus fare? Thats in essence what they are asking for, the principle's the same.

I don't think StefanGP should be given automatic entry should USF1 fail to make it to Bahrain, but USF1 should be removed from the 2010 Championship should they fail to make it. StefanGP as a replacement should only happen if the FIA are confident that they have the ability to last out at least 3 years, and they should be looking at that now, so that if USF1 are going to fall apart, the process has already begun to make up the field.

Failing that, then I am ok with an 11 team field in 2010, and a new and more rigorous application process for 2011. One which doesn't stink of incompetence or corruption. One that won't penalise entrants like Prodrive and Lola for no reason - I doubt either of them would be facing the issues USF1 and Campos have created for themselves.


USF1 should enter in 2011, with the 2010 slot given to StefanGP on a provisional lease for a year. If they manage to attend all the races in 2010, then a permamant place can be granted.

Campos will probably fade in 2010 so if USF1 gets their act together, space will be available.

Entry into the championship should be subject to attendance of the last scheduled test session!

That will keep the standard of the competition up, and not turn the pinacle of motorsport into a charade of no-shows and publicity hounds such as the likes Tony Tiexeira!


Didn't Ken Tyrrel buy a March chassis, Ford Cosworth and take JYS to the world championship before he started making his own chassis?


True, but in both this case (and the Rob Walker privateer Lotus case) the team that made the car was still active in the sport.

Would that have given any further benefit that Stefan may not have?


that was a matra chassis, and a ford engine in 69 if i am not mistaken, then when they tried to force him into using the matra engine, he made his own chassis, and won in 71 again.


JYS won the 1969 world title driving a Matra, but I think that programme had factory support. The customer March was Tyrrell's less competitive 1970 stopgap while the Tyrrell 001 was being readied.


OK so let's imagine for a minute that USF1 can somehow get their act together by Round 4; they turn up with inexperienced pay drivers, and untested cars going up against teams that have had pre-season testing and three races of development.

How many seconds per lap do you rekon USGP are going to be behind the slowest fellow newbie? Five, six, ten seconds per lap?

The history of F-1 is littered with the corpses of teams that were big on enthusiasm but short on well, everything else really.

Everything that USF1 has shown us, and not shown us, would indicate that they are a dead team walking.


Maybe the only thing that can save them is for Roger Penske/Michael Andretti/Chip Ganassi/Jack Rousch/Rick Hendrick to swoop in and buy the thing at the 11th hour.

Hmmm. Maybe that's just what will happen.


I seriously doubt if this is the way Roger Penske would approach another entry into F1.


No to skipping 4 races.

Business is business.

Either you have the funds (your own) or you have made suitable arrangements to borrow the money. If you don't and you can't pay the bills, you are out of business.

This is true if you are a small business (myself) or a large business (IBM) or somewhere in between (USF1).

Either they have what it takes or they don't. If I had the sort of money to compete in F1 and I also fancied spending that sort of money on an F1 venture, I'd make damn sure I could do it *BEFORE* I even entered, let alone get to the stage these people are at.

The fact that they got to this stage and made the woefully jingoist nationalist noises they did is just amazing. And then not to follow through with building the car.

Still they have their £1000 per seat Aeron chairs (as seen in a video of their base), so it shows they know where they need to spend money to make it count. I took that video to mean that they had money, turns out it was the opposite - that they knew how to spend it, but not how to manage it.

Incredible, that in probably the most entreprenueial country in the world, they could not get their act together. Says it all really.

Sorry, turn up and race in Bahrain or forfeit so that Stefan GP can race.

Seriously unimpressed at their lack of professionalism.


James, why do we have this ridiculous situation time and again in F1. It's not like it happens in other sport. Imagine if a newly promoted team to the Premiership asked of it could miss the first 3 games of the season because it's stadium was only half built and it didn't have enough players because sponsorship money didn't come through. (Yes, I realise that is an impossible occurrence, but it's the closest analogy I could come up with. Plus, I stole it from here... stefangp.wordpress.com ! Us Wolves people doing everything wrong. Fine £25,000 if you want to!)

Anyways, you hit the nail perfectly on the head when you stated that the FIA is imbetween a rock and a hard place. Damned if they let USF1 skipped 4 races and damned if they throw them out.

Ciao Bella!


This was a response to the above question:

James, has there ever been a team that has bought a chassis, engine and the support of a manufacturer and then made a great impact on formula one?

Don't know why this ended up here...


This isn't a commune. It is motorsport at the top level. The notion that USF1 are being cut any slack, given the circumstances, already undermines the prestige of the category. If they are not there in Bahrain then they should be sued for breach of contract. If the contract says they don't need to turn up in Bahrain then someone in the FIA needs their head looking at.


I think it is telling that the only new team that looks like it will be a genuine asset to Formula 1 at the moment is Lotus which was not on Mr Moseley's original shortlist. Even Virgin started off as Manor and needed a buyout for money. It looks like Mad Max deliberately chose the worst placed teams for F1 in a fit of pique at his enforced retirement and left more viable entries like Aston Martin on the sidelines. One way to salvage this situation would be for the FIA to impose a checklist for new teams to get through before they are signed on for a second year. Attending ALL Grand Prix events should be non negotiable.


I found Bernie has been extremely accurate in recent few events including the USF1 problem. Next time he speaks, we better listen very carefully.


I voted No

Simply becasue Virgin, Lotus already have Cars at testing, they have been given the same amount of time and they havnt been able to come up with the goods

If Campos get a car ready bring it to Barhain let them race

I think Stefan GP should be told bring your Car and Drivers (so long as drivers have super licence and car has passed crash tests and is FIA legal) and If USF1 don't turn up you get there slot simple as that.

If USF1 can't get a car to Barhain like the other newbies why should they get any perental treatment the other havnt asked for or required it?


I agree with Rusty0256 - The USF1 - in the extremely unlikely event that it makes it to Barcelona - would be a dangerous mobile chicane. Luca was right - these jokers will bring the sport into disrepute.

James. does the old 107% rule still apply ? If it isn't in the rule book it should be.


To my knowledge, the 107 percent rule was abolished a few years back.


It was abolished in 2003, at the same time as the one-car-at-a-time qualifying was introduced. I see no reason why it could not be reintroduced in 2011, but by the latter part of 2010 there may be little point in bothering with such a regulation. After all, it would still leave a margin of 6-7 seconds and with a little work both Virgin and Lotus should be within that boundary.


A lax precedent in such a competitive business is very dangerous. For one, the thoroughness of the FIA selection process would definitely be in question and secondly, it would be a disrespect to the other new and established teams how will be in Bahrain.

Leave USF1 out of the 2010 championship if they are not in the grid on 3/14.


I am a bit torn wanting to see more US involvment in F1 as it is a world sport. However F1 is the pinncale and if you can't turn up to all the races you should not be there.


James can you answer this? Does the 107% quali rule apply anymore. If so doesn't look like from the testing we will see any of the new teams on the grid anyway.


It hasn't applied since 2003.


I voted yes to allowing them to miss 4 races, but I think the team has failed to deliver. Perhaps PeterWindor should have first started with a IndyCar, A1GP or GP2 to buildup the teams' experience an publicity instead of stepping directly into F1.


All or nothing.

Let's face it U.S. and F1 just don't seem to fit.

Half baked and a huge disappointment.


I really don't want to sound to Euro-centric in this comment, but I really just don't get this situation. Stefan GP are playing a dangerous game here, yet it does seem rather odd how USF1 have ever been allowed this space - I mean, they've been banging on about it for years and here they are, unable to fulfill their duties having been granted a slot.

I genuinely believe an 'all-American' F1 team would be a brilliant thing to see and bring a dynamic new angle to a sport that has a gaping hole in a vital market, but this is getting ridiculous now. I'm really not one for conspiracy theories, but why on earth have Prodrive or Lola, both well respected names in motorsport - though, granted, neither are American - not been allowed a slot over USF1 who seem to have been granted an entry simply on being based in north America and using a Cosworth engine, rather than having any actual credentials for achieving anything. Even Campos have managed to make a reasonable case around their funding issues.


Wow, what a lot of vitriol against USF1. It's as if the commenters have never run a racing team themselves; oh wait, they haven't.

In my club racing days, there was no requirement to enter every event of the season, even with our club being sanctioned by the same governing body. Mandatory appearance at an event should be strictly a commercial matter between the entrant and the ones paying the entrant to appear.

As for Stefan GP, it is irrelevant how much money they have spent, or how ready they are; they should not race in Bahrain. There was a process for selecting entrants. Credible entrants such as Lola played by the rules, and were not selected. Just showing up with your kit without an entry is definitely not playing by the rules, and should not be rewarded. If not all 13 entrants make it to the grid, a new selection process should be started, even in mid-season.

Aside: I'm not an American, but I would really like to see USF1 on the track this year and in the future, for all the good reasons mentioned by previous commenters. The Americans think they can win at anything, and win or lose, it's fun to watch them try. 🙂


Marcus, you're right, most of us have never run a racing team. We never expected to be able to so we didn't try. But we have had the privelege of looking on while Dennis, Williams, Chapman and others have run one. Windsor has also had that experience, Anderson too at Ligier and Onyx, so they should have known what they were getting into. The fact is they haven't managed it whereas two, possibly three, other new teams have.

You may not have been required to enter every event in your club racing career, but you weren't covered by the Concorde Agreement or the FIA's Formula One regulations.


To solve the imemediate issue, StefanGP, USF1 Prodrive should be given the opportunity to qualify to race, points money based on number of races, raced in.

In the longer term FIA / FOTA need to address the ability of the teams to race for the long term.


Great post here. The situation is getting very interesting with USF1 and Stefan GP.

Doesn't this whole episode say a lot about the new teams use of PR to promote themselves though?

Virgin have come in as a bold and brash team with the use of CFD and no wind tunnels. No one expects the world from them, but they've made it to testing and will be in Bahrain.

Lotus have immediately come in to F1 saying they want to challenge the established teams. They quickly established the best driver line up of the new teams and made it to testing.

Campos have been dogged by rumours they have no money. They signed Bruno Senna in hopes that he would raise their stocks but the team has already been transferred over to a new majority share holder.

USF1 seemed early on like they were in good shape. On Australian TV at least, Peter Windsor would always give quick updates to say how the team was progressing. Perhaps they might have been better served continuing to feed information snippets to the public. The team really seemed to go deadly silent and everyone just knew they were in trouble when that happened.

Stefan GP don't have an entry, but they were smart enough to buy the 2010 Toyota. They are continually feeding information about their progress leading up to Bahrain and even sent some containers there so they would be ready to go for the race weekend.

Stefan GP are saying they're ready to race and USF1 are saying they're not. Clearly, based on your poll in this post, the public wants a team that can race.

I can only imagine that if USF1 were granted permission to miss the first 4 races that they would be behind the 8 ball in terms of development for the next couple of seasons. I'm not really sure that would do a lot for the US market to see their team lagging behind.


Bluntly put it this way, PRODRIVE & LOLA should have been in the 2010 season. They've got so much credentials and will surely be competitive. Too much politics and corruption kills genuine contenders. Who's to blame? We all know that answer don't we. It's like a NATO thingy. No Action Talk Only.


No, get Stefan GP instead.


I have an idea to address this kind of situation.

why not have an F1 qualifier championship in the off season which includes last 4 placed teams from previous season and 4 to 6 new teams and pick the top 4 among those teams to participate in the next season.

This will ensure few things

1- every season, there will be a battle at the top as well as at the bottom

2- smaller teams getting an environment free of the "big boyz" in the off season

3- new teams given a fair chance to show their capability and have transparency for selection into F1

4- bigger teams might want to finance the new teams to run their reserve drivers and give them a piece of sponsorship or may be fund them

5- F1 gets TV revenue even in the off season which can be further divided among the top 4 teams in the off season

6- circuits generate extra revenue in the off season

i am sure many fans would love the idea of an off season comprising of only the lower ranked teams mixed with new prosperous teams and also nurture new upcoming drivers.

I know there are details like which rules will be applicable to the off season and things of that sort and if this will be viable for the new teams but i think this will generate a lot of interest and give new teams a fair chance to prove worthy of being in F1.

Would like to know your thoughts.


Great idea in principle, but where are the four to six new teams going to acquire suitable cars to race against the four lowest-placed from the previous season?

How does a team increase from, say GP2 staffing levels, to what is required for F1? With only a couple of months to do it?

Sorry to be negative but the promotion/relegation idea has been discussed before and it simply isn't practical.


totally agreed. I guess F1 being such an exclusive sport, its very hard to introduce the new teams into the sport but there has to be some solution to all this.

Idea is to make all the process completely transparent and let every team earn their place in the show and make the season more exciting. Sometimes I feel the teams that do not qualify in top 10 or even lower do not put up much fight.. may be there is not much motivation...


Sounds like a good way to make sure the lower placed regulars never get a chance to catch their breath in the off season. How would you expect these teams to find the time or money to improve their kit for the next season of serious competition with the "Big Boys"? Other than that it could be another feeder series like Formula 2, good racing, but still a feeder series.


Sadly, I would say that USF1 should not be part of the championship this year. It has been obvious for some time that they have not enough money to make this happen. I would propose the slot to remain vacant, and to go through the selection process for this slot in late Spring once again now that Mosley and his gang are out of the picture. Then USF1 (if they still wish to) can compete with other hopefuls like StefanGP, Prodrive etc. My feeling is that by that point the slots up for grabs will increase with various teams looking quiet weak (Campos, Virgin and even Sauber and Renault).

I hope they can make it as it is a no-brainer how useful it would be to have an American team in F1.

As for Stefan, I would be very skeptical. I am not Serbian so I do not know who the man is, but I am from the region and I know that to have the money it takes to compete in Formula 1, coming from one of the poorest countries in Europe, gone through various wars in the 90s, probably his main activities that earned him this money are not particular "clean". Let him compete with the other teams in getting the slot so that there is a bit of due diligence first.


Peter Windsor has spent the last X years teelling everyone else how do to it (via F1 mag etc), so now it's time to show he's the real deal!


I have been following this USF1 situation with interest. What has intrigued me is that IIRC USF1 announced their intention to enter F1 before Mosley made moves to expand the grid with three new teams. That suggests to me that they were prepared to get involved when it cost more and also had a much longer preparation than some of the other entries who have now made it to the grid. I have been wondering about this.

James, your comment "USF1 was caught out by the late resolution of the row between the teams and the FIA last summer. It delayed its plans by several months." appears to shed some light on this matter. Could you elaborate a bit? I am not sure I understand why the late resolution of the row would have resulted in a delay for USF1?


Sorry, I'm not James but....

I would have thought that the row over the rules would have affected all the new teams equally, maybe not so much Lotus as they were late being invited.

Also I am fairly certain that your point about USF1 declaring their interest before any of the other new teams is correct.


Facepalm and apologise...


Seems like the majority of comments here are suggesting USF1 should not be allowed to compete..

I agree, and voted no.

An entry in a championship should mean the team is ready for competition at the first event.

I had also read that there was apparently room in the Concorde (or some other) agreement that a team may be able to miss up to 3 or 4 races in a season. But I would hope that rule was simply to make allowances for 'in season' difficulties, eg. Both cars ruined, and spares not available for the next round, factory gets burnt to the ground etc etc.

A rule like that shouldn't be used by a team that is underfunded, underprepared, and not even close to being ready for the first round of a championship (and not ANY championship either, this is F1). It isn't in the spirit of the sport (and I daresay, probably not in the spirit in which that clause was probably written).

I am an Aussie, and would have loved to see USF1 in the competition. But if they can't make the grid for 4 races, give the entry to another team that is ready. If it is Stefan GP, then so be it.

A full grid of prepared, funded teams means a better championship for everyone.

(And Villeneuve would be great for PR too, probably why Berine wants them in...)


In two words Hell No! they shouldn't be allowed to miss for races.

USF1 has been in the offing for 2 years if they can't get it together now when will they ever get it together. All of their press releases have been smoke and mirrors and there is no way they will be ready not now not ever.

If Lotus can get it together in 5 months then what excuses do USF1 have other than a lack of imagination.

They are a mess and a disgrace and by allowing them to miss races the FIA will be devaluing the championship. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Stefan GP should be allowed to race for 1 year only and then the whole tender process should be reviewed at around July.


I voted 'No'...as Windsor claims, they had been 'planning this for years' and they have messed it up spectacularly.

I would actually be more tempted to go the route of fining them for bringing the sport into disrepute for their braggard claims and shambolic efforts to con everyone that thing were OK.

To think that this bunch of jokers were allowed in, and Prodrive not, is utterly ridiculous. What a total farce. Throw them out now, and let Stefan come in...at least they have a car!


Wow i commented right near the beginning - to give USF1 the second chance if they can assure the FIA they are ready.

I'm astounded by how harsh everyone, or most people, are to this new team - almost suggesting they're doing this on purpose. It seems this story has woken up the F1-police.

So they want to delay for four races? So what. Look how long FOTA and the FIA delayed confirming the 2010 championship at all! This hasn't made things easy for the new teams.

People are given second chances in all walks of life - in areas WAY more important than F1. I am a big fan of F1 but look, it's a fact that there are thing in life more important.

Brawn got a second chance when Honda pulled out and look what happened there. There are clear similarities here: Brawn took on huge personal commitment (and risk) by pledging to run the team and USF1 have done the same. USF1 say they cant enter without this 4-race leeway. Well Brawn wouldn't have even got started had Mercedes not stepped in to give them an engine, and Force India and McLaren agreed to it (in McLaren's case also providing plenty of tech help). In addition the FIA waived the entrance fee to them.

Let's not start saying "oh yes, but the Brawn was an amazing car, USF1 won't match up to that". Let's no forget that it truly was a risk to let Brawn continue because up until then Hondas had pretty much all been total dogs. Brawn could have qualified at the back at the 1st GP and dropped out after 4. It wasn't until the first test they looked so strong. Look, I'm not suggesting USF1 will do what Brawn did success-wise this year, of course they won't, but they deserve a chance.

I think if USF1 truly believe and can convince the FIA that after 4 races they will compete, then they absolutely should be helped out. I think those that don't agree with this should look at themselves and remember the last time they were given a second chance when they'd failed under extremely difficult circumstances.


Ok let's look at the facts here.

Yes Brawn were given help. But Mercedes stated they would supply engines to whoever bought the team before Brawn did.

Brawn had to re-hash the car around the engine and gearbox supplied, as it was designed around a Honda engine, and therefore they probably would have loved to have more time.

They didn't, and they've admitted they bodged it to get onto the grid for the first race.

So yes, Brawn were given help, but they were not given time. The entry fee hasn't existed for a while, and Brawn were essentially Honda / BAR / Tyrrell. In essence, it was a couple of teams rallying around to get them ready.

But what USF1 are asking for is time. Time to develop a car. Brawn managed to do it and get onto the grid with help. USF1 are not asking for help, they are asking for time.

So you cannot compare Brawn, who already had a car built, drivers on standby, finances from Honda, and a technical team who could throw an engine into the back of the chassis and get to testing and the race, with USF1, who don't have a car, don't look like they have any drivers, have no money, and only have an engine, which by accounts hasn't been paid for yet.

Brawn knew they had to get ready for the first race. USF1 it appears, do not.


Yeah look i totally agree with some of your points Phil C.

I also understand that USF1 need help in terms of time and Brawn were given help in terms of engineering / supply. But what I don't understand is why time seems to be the be-all-and-end-all. Brawn were only ok in terms of time because they had a car developed while they were still Honda, and they also had loads of money from Honda. So I just don't understand why a team in that position are more deserving of a helping hand than USF1. Sorry, I just don't get it, and I'm not angling for a confrontation, I totally respect that others have a different opinion, but to me 'help' is 'help'; there are obviously different degrees of it but I don't get why a bit of extra time 'help' is in a different league to engine and tech 'help'.

As I've said before, if the FIA can see that they're simply not going to make it to round 5 then they shouldn't grant them the extra time. If the FIA go in and take a look at USF1, I can't believe it can be that hard for them to see whether the team are nowhere (in which case them wanting to sell their place to Stefan seems to have grounds - which I agree is unacceptable) or just 4 races away from having a car.

I guess my overall sadness about it is that everyone bent over backwards to help a team who's car was designed with the might of Honda, and who had loads of money from Honda, but for a small and just starting out team no-one will grant them a little extra time. That's my opinion and I respect other's.

Let's leave it there.


Your comparisons mean nothing, none of them involve a team missing races. This is top flight motorsport, not a "help the weak" charity.

They had their chance, they failed, they have no one to blame but themselves.

Game Over.


Wow I'm bowled over by your full and considered argument.

By your reckoning then I assume you think Brawn should not have been helped and let into F1 last year? It's only logical because having no engine and then being given one plus a free entry plus extensive help from another major team would surely count as assistance from a 'help the weak' charity.

Assuming you believe that Brawn(now Merc) should not be in F1 then your argument is plausible. If you think Brawn should be in F1 then it is your argument that is meaningless.


Martin P, thanks for the grown-up and considered response which some people clearly struggle with. I truly respect your view and you make some really good points without feeling the need for childish capitalisation of words.

I disagree that it's an advantage though to miss races, especially so since their also missing pre-season testing. I don't think any team would take that given the choice.

On both Martin P's and GQsm's points, I'm sorry, I just don'ty understand why being allowed to miss four races is more fundamental than being given an engine, technical help and free entry.

I fully agree Martin P that it could be that they're just wanting to sell their entry - but my post did put provisos on the extra time being given to them - that they need to convince the FIA that they will be there at round 5. By this I mean a proper audit by the FIA. I certainly don't think that the FIA should call them and just say 'yeah ok' without checking them out. It really shouldn't be that difficult for the FIA to see whether they're really 4 races away from having a car or whether they're nowhere.

GQsm please don't feel the need to repeat your point in capitals again - really, I understood.


TM, when you wrote you were "astounded" I thought maybe the crux of it needed spelling out because you obviously didn't get it from all the other posts in this thread.

The arguments that USF1 being an American team could be an asset to F1 and USF1 could be a great team over the long term etc etc are all valid points that I personally don't agree with but your's just weren't in context.

I didn't need a long post because I covered it in the first sentence. I'll break the key point down again.

Here it comes.....


None of your comparisons involve A TEAM MISSING RACES, hence they are not really comparable.

I hope Martin's less abrupt post helped, which ever helps you be less astounded is fine with me.


I wouldn't necessarily put it quite in the same words as GQsm but I do agree with him.

The comparison with Brawn is tenuous to say the least. If USF1 had a car but needed an engine and a gearbox or a motor-home or a spanner... then by all means pitch in and get them going on the grid in Bahrain.

But they don't want that. They want more time. Time is the one thing you can't give. Every new entrant would have loved more development time I'm sure. Two extra months of design and development? Wow... they might turn up and then beat every other new entrant because they've had longer to perfect their design. Wouldn't really be fair play that would it?

As for convincing the FIA they'll be there.... who can trust what they're saying now? If they'd been open two months ago then maybe the problems would be resolved by now. As it is, they're coming "clean" at the 11th hour. You don't get credit for that in any walk of life... you get stuffed for it - as they should.

It also adds credence to the theory that they are doing this deliberately. The project failed and they have just one asset left - their 2010 grid slot. If they'd played their hand in December then the FIA might have said "no, go away" and given the slot to Stefan, leaving USF1 with nothing. By leaving it to this stage however they've got half a chance of selling on their slot and making some money out of the shambles.

The FIA made this mess in reality, but I hope to God they don't compound their mistake by baulking at the right decision now and giving the grace period.


It is pretty dangerous. An untested new team would simply show up in Barcelona when the battle of the champions is at full swing?!

I'd say: drop Campos, USF1 and Stefan GP. It would be really unfair to Prodrive to grant a spot to the bullish Stefan GP. The Fia should organise a second round of applications for the 2011 grid. It'll give USF1 more time to develop their business plan.


Why drop Campos? It looks like they might be sorted now.

As for Prodrive they had an entry for 2008 and blew it - too late for a replacement to get a chance, so I don't think they are any more deserving. I'm not saying they should never be given another chance, just that they are not more deserving than USF1 or Campos.


Surely it is a little unfair to say that Prodrive "blew it". They had an entry whereby they were going to be the McLaren "B" team, a la Toro Rosso. However the lower midfield and "tailend charlies" (Williams, I am looking at YOU!) campaigned to get the goalposts well and truly moved, to the point that the criteria on which Prodrive were entering were voided from the rulebook!



Thanks TM. Your arguments make more and more sense as I (being much calmer than when I made my original post) now read everyone's responses. Maybe you'll agree with the following:

A prospective entrant has demonstrated the ability to run a team, and they've won big in all other categories they've taken on up to now - world championships, and wins in the classic events. They've got a base of operations and technical facilities. The boss of the operation has shown himself to be a canny operator in F1. They haven't built their own F1 car before, and they'll have to take on the expense of buying engines from Cosworth or elsewhere. But their background and experience, including the reputed business acumen of the boss, means that these shouldn't be significant obstacles. They have enough of a reputation that they should be able to attract any additional design, engineering and fabrication talent they may need from the F1 world.

Prodrive? Or TWR? Dave Richards? Or Tom Walkinshaw? Arrows? Or Aston Martin?

No doubt many will go up in flames over this comparison. But it does provide a cautionary "be careful what you ask for" tale. Everyone boosting Prodrive should think about TWR-Arrows. I suspect someone may have had this in mind during the selection process.


Williams clarified what the goalposts were, i.e. what 'constructor' means and they were right to do so I believe. Toro Rosso have pushed those goalposts but Prodrive were well and truly overstepping that mark. Calling Williams tailend charlies is a little rude! With their budget they are surely the most talented and gritty team out there, and I truly hope they get back to their form of the early 90s. You can't blame Williams, who build and run their own team, for defending their existence against another who comes in and buys a car off the shelf from another (rather-more-wealthy-than-Williams) team's car off.

Here is an analogy: if you and one other person applies for a job and they get it only because they have a 2:1 degree and you have a 2:2, and then you find out that they don't really have a degree and are going under someone else's name and degree, what would you do? You'd probably protest it, in a proper way, to the employer. That's all Williams did (I admit the analogy is slightly off because Prodrive never deceived the FIA, but you get what I mean).


“If we get a decision quickly, it triggers funding and we’re good to go”

Does this mean once their entry cannot be given to anyone else it becomes a concrete asset that is able to be sold? i.e. an invester will come in pay the debts and sell the entry?

If on the other hand they do get the 'get out of jail free card', they get 2 months more development time and no expense of attending those races, what if they then manage to take a point or two from another newbie team? That is a lot of lost money for the other team who did show up when they should.

Not that I think they could possibly get a point in the real world but in their minds I am sure they THINK they can.

Thomas in Australia

USF1 are a joke. It's shameful that they were ever given entry by the FIA. If they make the grid they will be nothing more than dangerous.

I wouldn't be surprised if FOTA used its collective power to get them removed from the grid (if they ever get there)...


Seems that usf1's only real asset is their entry. They should be treated in the same way Williams or McLaren would be if they missed races. Seems to me there is a rich Serbian willing to invest in f1. As for anyone without an entry, unfortunately modern f1 is a closed shop. The way the fia has set this up, if usf1 faulters, I don't see how that's got anything to do with Stefan gp...


Well F1 is currently in a big transition, so I feel that teams should be supported as much as possible, especially the new ones.

However, A team should be ready for the new season. I dont believe the teams should be allowed to miss portions of a season. They should be supported and ready for all races.

Yes an American team would be positive for F1 but only a serious, professional one. Missing the start of the season is poor, and would leave the media+fans questioning the team for the rest of the season.

"should they have started 4 races late? How can they make progress when they're playing catch up?"

If this team are allowed to race, and then spend the whole season miles behind all teams, everyone will say they should not have been included.

I doubt many Americans unsure of F1 will be impressed with watching an American team racing like a 3 legged donkey for a whole season finishing last every race.

No matter of next season, a team should be ready for this one.


It would be preferable that USF1 forget about the new season, let them work on the 2011 car in peace and bring a winner à la Brawn.


This is about business and the current state of the US economy, given Money USF1 would be on the grid and on time. Why should they be punished because of that.

From a purest perspective they should not have the advantage of extra development time and maybe the rule is that you miss the races you become invalid for this years championship...

But having a team from the US would provide F1 with a truly Global set of teams when Lotus eventually move to Asia.

Giving them the 4 weeks will not change the team selection process and letting Stephan GP in just because the bought Toyota cars is also not acceptable.

USF1 should lease the Toyota cars from Stephan GP and run them for the first 4 races!! This gets them their sponsorship and a second chance.

Under no circumstances should Stephan GP be allowed to run their cars in any other way... I am sure the FIA will understand it makes a complete mockery of the process...


I will say no to BOTH USF1 and Stefan GP.

F1 is a business, I know. But it is also a sport. And in a sport, it should be FAIR to all competitors.

I think if ths Concorde Agreement says 3 races, they should only be able to miss 3; no more.

If they can't make it, then this mean they are not ready, amd must wait until 2011 for another try.

As to Stefan GP, personally I don't think they should get an entry either. In any other sport if you miss the deadline for application for an entry, do you get special treatment to enter the competition. I don't think so. They must wait until next season too. (A question of Fairness again.)

This is all about money... because Stefan GP has substial backings from the Serbia government and Bernie sees this as a great opportunity to make a few more millions for himself.

Personally, I think 24 cars is more than enough on a race track.

What do you think James ??


There was a desire not to have empty franchises so 13 teams were needed. It looks like there aren't 13 viable teams doesn't it? Also the budget cap didn't work out as the new teams expected it to so it's made it much harder for them


That's it, if you budget for £40 million, where on earth do you find the extra fundings in such a short period of time. It's a vicious circle; if your operation is ropey, who is going to invest more money into it.

James, about filling the empty franchises, I presume this is for the benefit of the Teams.


Yet Virgin are reputed to still be working on a Budget of £40 million aren't they?


I'm sorry but the budget cap (lack of) argument is very weak.

If they had a budget for $40 million for a season of racing then where is there car? equipment? They can still go racing on $40 million they might not be at the front end of the grid but they can at least turn up.

Virgin are sticking with their original budget of $40 million, so why not USF1.

If USf1 had $40 million they should be on the grid, the point is that they don't and hence have failed at the first hurdle.

As others have pointed out they are trashing around trying to get some $$ for the only thing they have of value the 2010 entry.


Yes keeps the value high, also the FIA wants it


Off topic I know, James, how do you think the 2009 championship would have played out using the 2010 points system ? would Jenson have clinched it earlier ? who would have been runner up ?


You do the maths! I'd be interested to know.


Here's a link for 2009 with 2010 points.


It doesn't change much really, Trulli jumps Rosberg for 7th and a few more changes but overall pretty similar to the 2009 points system.


I think it's a bit too easy to completely kick them down just because they are a bit late.

I also don't understand the ease at which people want to give Stefan GP a slot on the grid. Based on the fact that he bought some old Toyota's? How many miles have those cars driven? What contract with FIA does he have?

Zoran didn't get his act together when the licenses were handed out, tried to get another shot at it in court and lost that. He had his chance and blew it. Then he bought some Toyota's and now he just assumes that the FIA should give him a place on the grid? Absurd.

The way I see it he's more like a "megalomeniac scorned" rather than someone who actually knows how to run a team. He spares no expense just to clear his name from the defeat he suffered. His actions are completely irrational and the rumours that he was trying to buy off Dallara (to prevent Campos Meta their car) suggest he might even be backhanded.

I'd say the FIA should have put some performance clauses in the contracts. If the team does not show a driving car in the pre season testing then they simply should not be allowed in.

Campos Meta, USF1 and Stefan GP are all very unlikely to field a proper car. For all I care none of them are allowed in.


Last season was excellent in that even the worst teams scored points and showed a respective level of competitiveness.

Now people are fretting about new teams which may or may not even make the first race. Does anyone really think that any of the new teams are going to doing anything more than making up the numbers? They will bring nothing to the party other than making Torro Rosso not be last. All rather pointless.

F1 is a big boys game and costs a packet. If you can't even get a couple of cars to the grid for the first race, then you do not belong in the sport.


Hi James,

Other than stating that teams were not allowed to miss the first four races, has the FIA commented further? I'm interested to know the selection process was carried out. MM was clear that including smaller teams with a budget cap was the best way forward for F1, moreover F1 would become substainable in the long term. So far we have two teams floundering while teams (with the funding)that had previously applied for a grid slot being refused. Were the likes of Prodrive refused on personal grounds or were they business decisions? It would be good if you can post something from Jean Todt on this point, because this raises questions about the governance of F1. Also, as someone who knows little about Stefan GP, will you be posting some more information on them in the future?


For a long time I have really wanted USGPE to get there act together as I really liked the idea from the first time I heard about there entry back in 2008 but I think now its time to call it a day.

F1 is not amature hour. I have no reason to believe even if they turn up on race 4 if they would be there at the end of the year and who knows how far off the pace they would be given how much running the other new teams will have done.

I dont particuarly like the way Stefan GP have gone about there business but now they have thrown JV back into the mix I must admit like most people like the idea of having 5 world champions on the grid and adding JV unique style to an already explosive combination of drivers.

I've seen a few negative comments about a possible JV return. I maybe in the minority but I dont remember how being a disaster at Sauber / BMW. He scored more points than Massa who then went to Ferrari and clearly his face did not fit when BMW took over. They were just looking for an exuse to get rid of him and I dont recall him being to far behind Heidfield when he got the boot.


James - if USF1 have missed pre-season testing, would it not be the case that their first outing would now be on the track at a 'live' race with untested cars and drivers? Surely that would be just plain dangerous?


I seriously questioned the way in which the FiA handled the selection process last year. Am I being cynical or did the FiA only grant entries to teams who would be using a Cosworth engine ?

I voted no but I suspect Stefan GP will not be allowed to race either. Thus leaving 24 cars and 12 teams.


It's outrageous that a team proposing to begin a start-up from absolute cratch was given an entry when teams based around existing racing operations with many years of experience and a number of skilled ex-F1 technicians and engineers were denied entries. When was the last time a bona fide small business start-up enterprise (i.e. one not already racing in lower formulae) even entered F1, let alone lasted in the sport for any length of time (not including Super Aguri, which was a Honda satellite operation)? Arrows, perhaps? Even that was basically half of the Shadow team. Lola, Prodriver and Epsilon should have had the entries, they were by an absolute mile the best qualified candidates - except, of course, that they did not wish to use Cosworth engines. Absurd.


With regards to "due diligence", it should be noted that this was done by the FIA when new teams were signing up to the budget cap rules. Is it any wonder that funds have now been withdrawn from certain parties? It should also be noted that the likes of Lola and Prodrive were only ever really interested in coming in under the same budget cap rules. David Richards recently said that F1 would have to reduce its costs a lot further than it iS doing under the 'resource restriction' agreement for him to ever think of coming back to F1.

don't shoot at the mailman.

sorry but it seems you don't get the public support. The public, act like the piranha club, they take no prisoners. It's the way it is. Tough business this f1. Don't you think?


james allen that do you think about mclaren what for them speed


couldn't agree more max


The cat is out of the bag. Due dilligence and more rigorous criteria for selection should have been applied prior to USF1's entry, but if the FIA were to kick them out of F1 now, how many jobs and livelihoods would be lost, mortgages threatened. The US economy ain't great right now. I think the responsible thing to do is for the FIA to send a representative to the USF1 factory and make a credible, detailed assessment of their ability to compete this year. If they can, if they need exemption from 4 races to achieve it, then I think they should be given every opportunity to take part.


Do you happen to know how many people USF1 currently employ? From what little progress has been made and the scant reports from the team itself I would think very few. I am begining to doubt they even pocess a toolbox let alone the mechanics to use it.


USF1 would add little or nothing to F1. They are clearly in no position to race anytime soon and the FIA should take this as a lesson for the future: be more diligent in choosing new entries. Am still shocked they didn't pick Prodrive!


USF1 should be made to produce PHOTOGRAPHS and details of their car (ie, the same amount of information as given away on a car launch - I am not talking about 'secret' details) and provde full details of their driver line up so they can prove they are a legitimate entity.

If they are unable to do this then it means they are not going to ever make the grid. If they are unwilling to do this, then that probably means they are unable but if they were able and unwilling it shows they are not serious in proving their commitment to the sport and their entry should be revoked.

Todt has said that teams are allowed to miss a maximum of 3 races and even missing one event would result in action being taken. The fact they are asking to miss four in light of this very public announcement by the FIA shows just how grounded in the real world the USF1 project is.

Which is a shame, because it would have been great for the sport to have a non European based team.


yes they should, be allowed. Its not like they will be in among the action, and it will be two less pack fodder back marker "monkeys" for Hamilton et al to trip over, or be taken out by during a race.


I have read through quite a lot of the comments and I thought it might be good to mention the current financial climate in this discussion. We have had a major financial meltdown and the greatest recession since the great depression. Unemployment is 10% in the US and when you take into account those who have dropped off the roles then its much higher. USF1 were going for sponsorship in a country that doesn't care about F1 at the time of a huge recession. I think this should make us a little more sympathetic towards them.

Having said that I voted that they shouldn't be allowed to compete if they miss 4 races.


Don't forget that the start of the credit crunch can be traced back to mid-2007. Potential problems related to sub-prime mortgages were being discussed in the papers way before that.

When Windsor and Anderson announced their project early last year, the credit crunch was well and truly under way. Windsor and Anderson knew that, or they should have, everybody else did.


If USF1 had asked to miss three races and accept the consequences as laid out in the Concorde Agreement, I'd have voted "Yes". However, nothing in any interpretation of Concorde I've seen permits missing four races.

USF1 knew the rules when it signed up. It didn't follow them. Even missing three races is a concession because the undertaking it signed on application was to be at every race without fail. If USF1 really can't make China, it shouldn't be given a seat for 2010.

In the days of the bond, this would be an easy problem to solve. Simply give USF1 a year off in exchange for losing part of its deposit (Toyota did the same to delay its entry from 2001 to 2002). As it stands, I don't think the FIA have any choice but to refuse. If the FIA could get Bernie to persuade USF1 to sell to an organisation that can put a car on the grid, so much the better. If that's not possible, then I think F1 has to take the hit, walk away and learn the numerous lessons that have been generated by the whole messy process of increasing the grid size.


Reward the team that is achieving and let Stefan race I say! Only problem with that in my mind is It doesn't seem very fair to Prodrive who could have bought Aston Martin to the Grid! That I would like to see! Can't believe the powers that be in F1 want to reward USF1 for faliure with 4 races grace.


I say let them have their 4 races. If they fail to show, then re-open the selection process as early as possible to get another team in for 2011. Just giving Stefan GP their slot makes a mockery of the whole selection process.

USF1 are an important team, in that they may actually get American fans more interested in F1. They would also be a great platform for American companies seeking a worldwide audience. I think that there are sponsors there to be had. Whether they have exploited that opportunity or not is a matter for discussion.

I am not happy about this situation, but the selection process was poor and it is becoming clear that they were being used as a pawn in the power games. Whatever the history, they have been given the entry, and they should be helped, but only as far as the 5th race.

I would still prefer to have Super Aguri back though!


This is a face saving plan for both USF1 and the FIA. When the FIA decline to allow USF1 to miss 4 races they can then ask for the return of their entry which the FIA had no president to do otherwise.

If Stefan GP is going to get the entry it is going to require a lot of backroom deals with Bernie seeming a lot like Santa Claus. The FOM will never risk allowing a team that might beat them out of a championship point in.


"“Why would they give us a franchise and just, the first time there’s a bump in the road, yank it and put it out of business ?"

1) Because the team is the F1 equivalent of "vaporware" in the

computer world.

2) Because there are other teams which are more deserving of a spot on the grid, precisely because they ARE prepared.

3) Because this unfortunate legacy of the seriously questionable decision-making processes of Max Mosley

is obviously a mistake and it should be rectified for the

good of the sport.

Disclosure : I am American, but I have no patience for bs artists like USF1. The principals should stand down in the manner befitting a gentleman, and make room for a real team.

F1 is not for charity cases. it's one of the most competitive sports on earth. The strong survive, and the weak don't,

exactly as it should be.

Here's hoping we will soon see the last of Peter Windsor and his pretense at an F1 team.


No excuses for USF1 or Campos. Manor have managed to get a good sponsership in place,Lotus, managed to get backing and design a car faster than both these teams together and Sauber literally looks bare but still has a car going round.

This is a dog eat dog world in F1. If USF1 are allowed to miss 4 races it would make the US and F1 a joke. Peter Windsor has spent to much time on Speed rather than develop a well efficent F1 team. With Villeneuve almost a certain for Stefan GP, funding from the Serbian goverment and a good technical team, surley Stefan deserves the slot not USF1.


I think your observations about the funding for Stefan have actually highlighted Bernie's reason for involvement.

He wants a team with the backing of their government. That way when he trys to get a Serbian GP in the next couple of years he is already pushing on an open door with his fees and the need for state intervention to make it affordable.


That makes sense. Bernie doesn't do anything without numero uno benefiting in some way.


In regards to the Sauber being an unfair comparison, it was designed by BMW, but until December Sauber had no idea they were racing, which brings us back to Stefan GP, We know that Toyota chassis is going to be somewhere between Williams and Torro Rosso.I would rather see one of the new teams fighting with the boys, than USF1 which will be aaround 10 seconds of the pace


Clearly the Sauber was designed by BMW during last year so that part at least is a pretty unfair comparison.


What makes this situation difficult is the fact that it's actually Mosley's fault. He used new teams as pawns in his powerplay against FOTA teams. That's why it's not easy to say if USF1 should be allowed to miss four race by the same FiA who made all this mess in the first place. But that is emotional thinking and it's good to have a bit of it in the decision making but not too much. Just a bit.

On the other hand, rationale thinking says that USF1 should not be allowed to miss four race, even though it was out of their hands from the beginning because that's disallowed by the rules but that FiA should be in some way penalized for their failure to select capable teams and thus making this whole horrible situation with more than one team.


It would not be right to allow USF1, or any other team to not be ready to start the season when there is another team waiting in the wings who are capable of starting the season.

But why not let Stefan GP in and reinsate the situation we had a number of years ago where there were more than 26 cars and only the top 26 qualified? It would probably need a bit of rejigging of the qualifying process but it allows flexibility and also ensures a full grid of starters.


As a north american F1 fan, the idea of a team based in the US is an excellent way to build interest in the sport. However, the lack of financial support appears to have ended this particular dream. Stefan GP has bought Toyota and have the potential of being a leg up on the other new teams due to inheriting an established infrastructure. In retrospect, USF1 should have approached Toyota and over time established its north american base.


When this story came out I was actually thinking that Stefan should get the place.

But I agree with some of the other posters, in thiking that if USF1 dont get ready in time, their slot on the grid should go empty, and the FIA should reevaluate the possible contenders (Stefan, Lola, Prodrive).

I very much doubt Campos will make it into a second year so there could be two slots again next year.


any news at to whether the Campos takeover (or buyout) means they will definitely be on the grid now?


That is what they are saying


Being an American I was highly suspicious of the USF1 concept from the go. The reason is the absence of serious substance from Peter Windsor/Ken Anderson at the initial announcement. It seem to me like "smoke and mirrors.

That being said before a decision is made - due dilligence (finance, technical infrastructure, support must be evaluated).