Thu, Feb 26, 2009 - Page 19 News List

US team gears up to make Formula One entry in 2010

AP , CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 7 Andretti Green Racing Dallara Honda, takes part in the IndyCar series spring testing at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida, on Tuesday. Patrick has expressed an interest in racing for a new US Formula One team.

PHOTO: AFP

The founders of a new US-based Formula One team plan to hire a pair of US drivers, and Mario Andretti believes his grandson is the perfect choice to fill one of the seats.

Ken Anderson and Peter Windsor, the principals behind the team they call USF1, officially announced their intent on Tuesday to run the 2010 schedule. The motorsports veterans said they’ll base the team in Charlotte, home for most NASCAR teams, and scour the market for young US drivers.

“Who they are ... your guess is as good as mine,” said Windsor, a former team manager for Ferrari and Williams. “But two American drivers, that’s what we intend to do.”

Windsor rattled off a prospect list of relatively unknown open-wheel drivers currently competing in lower ranks, the most notable being Jonathan Summerton, a 21-year-old racing in Europe in the A1GP Series.

Then he and Anderson turned to their dream list, which included former F1 driver Scott Speed, NASCAR star Kyle Busch and IndyCar glamor girl Danica Patrick. But Speed has said he has no interest in leaving NASCAR for an F1 return. Busch and Patrick are both willing to discuss the opportunity, but neither has been contacted by USF1 representatives.

Neither principal mentioned Marco Andretti, the budding IndyCar star and grandson of 1978 F1 world champion Mario Andretti.

But Mario Andretti called into the news conference to pitch his 22-year-old grandson.

“Every time I mention Formula One, he says ‘I’d give anything to have this opportunity,’” Andretti said. “If I were to design a Formula One driver today, I would design Marco. We’ll see what the future brings for him.”

Marco Andretti signed a contract extension last year with Andretti Green Racing, the team co-owned by his father, Michael. He was testing on Tuesday at Homestead-Miami Speedway and not immediately available for comment.

After Andretti hung up, Windsor added Marco Andretti to the list of potential hires, as well as Graham Rahal, a 20-year-old IndyCar driver.

Both were testing on Tuesday at Homestead-Miami Speedway and said they had not been contacted by anyone from the new F1 team.

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