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Page last updated at 18:05 GMT, Friday, 24 September 2010 19:05 UK

US F1 boss blames 'bad timing' for team's collapse

Former US F1 chief Peter Windsor

Windsor explains demise of US F1

By Ted Kravitz and Sarah Holt
BBC Sport in Singapore

The journalist who hoped to launch an American Formula 1 team this season has blamed "bad timing" for the failure.

Peter Windsor said US F1 was "ready to go" in March 2009 - but claimed the economic recession and disputes within the sport combined to scupper the plan.

"We had our backer, we knew what we were going to do, we felt we had everything in place," said Windsor.

He said the team's determination to build their own car was what ultimately meant they did not make it.

In his first interview since the project collapsed, Windsor told BBC Sport he did not think there would be an American team in the sport "for a while".

In February 2009 Windsor and Ken Anderson, a race engineer with long experience in both F1 and IndyCar, announced the new team would run cars built in North Carolina and driven by American drivers.

It was either the whole car or nothing at all - I didn't agree with that

Peter Windsor

Despite securing financial backing from YouTube founder Chad Hurley, however, a year later the operation was effectively shut down.

He said the political battles over the future of F1 in 2009 were partly to blame for what happened as they meant the team were not officially confirmed as an entrant until September, and "until that point we were unable to do anything, we couldn't exist as an entity at all".

The other new teams - Virgin, Lotus and Hispania - took a different decision, and started work on their cars prior to that date on the assumption that they would end up with entries.

The summer of 2009 was marked by a seismic political battle between Max Mosley, the president of governing body the FIA, the teams' association Fota and F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone's FOM group.

"If you look back at 2009, it was a year of economic recession," Windsor said.

"Putting that to one side, it was a year of imploding in F1. We had Fota, the FIA and FOM - the commercial rights holder - all in dispute and that came to a head at the British GP in July 2009.

"Until that point we were unable to do anything, we couldn't exist as an entity at all.

"We were then confirmed as an entered team in July but that was when there were still two championships.

"The two championships only came together in September and that was when we effectively pressed go.

"At that moment, if we had gone to perhaps Lola, or a company like that who was building cars, I think we would have been OK.

"But the premise of our team, the foundation of our team was a) to be a national team and b) to do our car in America. And I think if we had a year we could have done it.

"But in the time we had it was a big ask to do a factory alone in an America let alone to try and build a car and put a team of people together.

"We were still hiring people in November/December from existing F1 teams. That was really late."

Windsor said he now regretted the decision to press on with their own design.

"It was either the whole car or nothing at all," Windsor said. "It was Ken Anderson's call and he said it would kill our team if we didn't build our own car.

"He would rather go down doing our own rather than race someone else's. I didn't agree with that.

"It was just a question of time - and most of the existing teams will be two thirds of the way through their 2011 cars already. We didn't start a 2010 car until too late, in retrospect, but we didn't know it at the time."

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see also
US F1 team on verge of collapse
25 Feb 10 |  Formula 1
USF1 asks to start F1 season late
20 Feb 10 |  Formula 1
US team plans to enter F1 in 2010
25 Feb 09 |  Formula 1

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