F1 poised for major US breakthrough
|By Jonathan Noble||Wednesday, February 25th 2009, 10:45 GMT|
Formula One could be poised for a major breakthrough in the United States market thanks to behind-the-scenes efforts to get the country back on the calendar and the arrival of the new USF1 team.
That is the view of McLaren's incoming team principal Martin Whitmarsh, who believes that the arrival of an American F1 outfit in 2010 can only be good news for the whole of the sport.
Whitmarsh has revealed that efforts are going on to try to find a way to get a United States Grand Prix back on the calendar, following the failure of Indianapolis and Bernie Ecclestone to agree on a deal for the past two seasons.
"The United States of America is clearly a crucial market for all Formula One's car manufacturers - and for many of its sponsors, too," Whitmarsh told autosport.com
"The fact that at the moment the Formula One calendar boasts no United States Grand Prix is therefore a great pity, and it goes without saying that all at McLaren Mercedes would applaud the return of the United States Grand Prix to the F1 calendar - either at Indianapolis or elsewhere.
"Indeed, a desire to reinstate the United States Grand Prix has recently been discussed during meetings of the FOTA commercial commission, which is headed up by Renault's Flavio Briatore, so it would be fair to say that it's something that's already on the teams' wish-list for the future - and I know that both the FIA and FOM are supportive of that collective wish."
Speaking on the morning after plans for the new USF1 team were officially unveiled, Whitmarsh said he was fully behind the efforts of team principal Ken Anderson and sporting director Peter Windsor.
"A United States-based Formula One team, ideally fielding at least one United States-born driver, would be an excellent vehicle via which all Formula One stakeholders could make important promotional and commercial inroads into what remains the world's biggest economy," he said.
"For that reason alone, we at McLaren Mercedes applaud Peter Windsor's and Ken Anderson's efforts to set up their all-new USF1 team, and I'm sure the management of all Formula One teams feel the same way.
"It's tough out there at the moment from a sponsorship-acquisition point of view, and it won't therefore be easy for Peter and Ken - but I'm sure they both know that. What's beyond doubt, though, is that such a project could only feasible as a result of the recent cost-cutting programme spearheaded by the FIA and FOTA.
"As I say, we wish USF1 well."