Those of you who are Formula One fans will recognize the name James Allen. He took over from Murray Walker when ITV had the F1 broadcasting contract (seen here in Canada on TSN) and did a good job calling the play-by-play. He was replaced when the BBC won the contract at the beginning of last season.
In any event, Allen reported on his blog Sunday (here’s the link, if you want to go there) that an item in Italy’s Gazzetta Sportiva had caught his eye – to wit, that the new USF1 team has applied to the FIA for a "derogation to miss the early fly away races and start at the Spanish Grand Prix in April. This contradicts USF1 sporting director Peter Windsor’s assertion last week that the team will definitely be in Bahrain."
It’s hard to say whether this Italian magazine report is mischief or fact. Beginning months ago with Bernie Ecclestone’s assertion that at least two of the four new teams won’t make it to the grid for the first Grand Prix of 2010 (in Bahrain March 14) USF1 has come under attack from just about every quarter.
And yet, at every turn of the screw, team principal Windsor (who’s a very good communicator in his own right – Speed TV reporter, F1 News magazine columnist) has been quick to pour cold water on each and every one of the negative assertions.
As Allen reported, Windsor has said repeatedly that everything is proceeding on schedule and the team will be on the grid.
But if you go to the USF1 website (click here, if you’re curious), there’s not a lot there – and we are only nine weeks away from that first Grand Prix!
You will find a couple of rah-rah pep talks, a video of the car’s nose cone being crash-tested and some photographs of the team’s facilities in Charlotte, N.C., and in Spain.
One of the sub-headings is called "Partners" and there you will find "Development Partners" and "Manufacturing Partners" and "Supply Partners." There’s even a "Clothing Partner" listed.
But there is no "Money Partner," which has got to give pause to anyone going to that site.
Nor is there any photograph of the USF1 car.
There are no drivers listed.
In short, it doesn’t look good for USF1 (nor does it look good for Adrian Campos’s new team, but that’s fodder for another day).
Now, Peter Windsor vows that the team will test the car for the first time at the Barber Motorsport Park in Alabama the first week of February.
So this is what it comes down to:
Bernie Ecclestone says it’s highly unlikely the USF1 team will make it onto the grid for 2010 (he didn't come right out and name it, but you can take to the bank that it's one of the two he's talking about).
Windsor says it will.
One of them is going to look foolish.
Care to bet which one?