USF1 looking for experienced drivers

The new USF1 team are likely to target an experienced Formula One driver to lead their line-up in the first season in 2010, according to sporting director Peter Windsor

USF1 looking for experienced drivers

USF1's long-term goal is to be a national team running two American drivers, but Windsor says it could be better for the team to use a driver with F1 experience to help them progress in the first season or two.

"In year one, certainly there is an argument for having an experienced F1 driver in the car," said Windsor. "We're going to need to get all the information we can as quickly as possible, particularly in an era when they're cutting right back on the amount of testing you can do. There's definitley and argument for that, and then maybe having a young American in the other car.

"But actually finding the right experienced driver to put in the car for those first two years, or maybe just the first year, is not easy if you actually think about. We are going to be a new team on the block and a driver who brings a lot of expereince and a record of success with him could be a difficult driver for us to work with, because his expectations are going to be a lot higher than ours. So it would need to be exactly the right sort of driver with the right sort of temperament."

Windsor added that USF1 will be looking for a driver willing to grow with the team and says he would steer clear of drivers whose expectations would be too high for a new outfit.

"In Rubens Barrichello's case he would be good, because he's known two bad years at Honda and that would be a very useful baseline for our operation. But he's almost unique of the drivers out there who would potentially fill the role of the experienced driver.

"You can't imagine Jenson [Button] in a start-up team, driving at 100 per cent knowing that the best he's going to qualify is 14th - which would be good for us - and finishing maybe 10th on a good day. Jenson would want more than that and it would be very difficult working with somebody like that.

"If you took a big American star from NASCAR, he'd be quite happy not to qualify last and to finish 12th. That would be a great result for him in his first Formula One race, and that would be a great result for us too. We are a new team and we are going to walk before we can run - we will all grow at the same pace."

When asked about IndyCar racer Danica Patrick and NASCAR's Kyle Busch - the two American drivers with the biggest profiles in Europe - Windsor said: "Both of those drivers bring with them a lot of reputation and PR, the question is whether that's the right thing for USF1 in the first or second year.

"What we don't need is a driver coming in, dominating the team and expecting more than the team can give. Equally, we don't want a driver who is going to underperform because he's so inexperienced, so it's a very difficult balance to strike.

"The concept of taking somebody like Danica to Formula One and being successful with her is mind-blowing. And, equally, taking a NASCAR star driver, putting him into F1 and seeing him do well would be just as pleasurable. Both of them would be great people to talk to. I don't know if Kyle has any interest at all in F1, I don't know if Danica has either for that matter, but it would be interesting to see."

USF1 team principal Ken Anderson believes they will be able to produce home-grown star drivers.

"We're a big country and I think it's fair to say that anything we put our mind to, we end up doing pretty well," he said. "We have a big enough pool to do it. If we're taking a flier on a German or Brazilian, why not take a flier on ours.

"The ladder (for young drivers) doesn't really exist in the United States right now, as far as Formula One for sure. Part of our sponsorship will go towards helping kids do that. Max (Mosley) has just started F2 which is brilliant for £195,000 and ridiculously cheap compared to GP2 or F3. What better place to send a kid?

"I grew up in the early 70s in motocross and the Europeans used to come over and kick our butt, then within five years we were holding our own and in 10 years we were world champions."

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