Long whispered, oft alluded to and seldom denied, it is now official: the primary investor in USF1 is 33-year-old Chad Hurley. He is one of the trio of Youtube.com founders, and still the internet phenomenon's CEO despite selling a majority holding to Google in 2006 (shades of Bernie Ecclestone's modus operandi...). This week he exclusively confirmed to this column his interest in the first full-on US F1 operation in more than 40 years.
The Fine Arts graduate (in a previous life he designed Paypal's logo) first met team founders Ken Anderson and Peter Windsor when they did a series of commercial opportunities. And although Hurley freely admits to not being a petrol-sipping motorsport enthusiast - he was a Pennsylvania State standard marathon athlete - the concept of investing in a motor racing start-up operation certainly had its appeal.
"There are so many reasons for my involvement. It was just a perfect storm of my personal interests, which are technology, design and sport.
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South African-born Dieter trained as industrial engineer before holding down a variety of senior motor industry marketing and manufacturing positions. At the age of 40 he decided to follow his passion, and became the first and only South African journalist to cover Formula 1 regularly. Dieter joined AtlasF1 at the beginning of 2004 – a year prior to its merger with Autosport – and his regular column offers an intriguing analysis of F1’s politicking and commercial chicanery. Although now also proudly Belgian, he gives his domicile as "Wherever F1 duplicity lurks".@RacingLines More features by Dieter Rencken