Team US determined to use home talent 07 Aug 2009
The US-based Formula One team due to join the grid next season say they are determined to stick to their guns and use American drivers, despite being approached by experienced names from other countries with substantial financial backing.
"We've been offered well over three-quarters of our racing budget by two drivers already, neither of whom have raced in Formula One but both have won races in GP2," co-founder Peter Windsor told Sports Illustrated magazine.
"Both of them have massive sponsorship they can bring us from their home country. (Team co-founder) Ken (Anderson) and I have got to be very strong, look one another in the eye and say, 'No, we're not going to accept that money, we're not going to hire those guys because we're going to remain true to our convictions.
Windsor admitted it was tempting to accept such offers, but insisted that one of the teams top priorities remains helping and promoting American driving talent, much of which he believes has been overlooked by the motorsport establishment.
"There are very good American drivers out there," he said. "To be honest, shame on Formula One and shame on American motorsport that some of these great young Americans with single-seater talent have not been nurtured more and given more opportunity.
The biggest example of this, said Windsor, was Danica Patrick, who put in her apprenticeship in Formula Ford in Europe before going on to become one of the US-based IRL series biggest stars - too big a star, in fact, for Windsor to consider, at least initially.
For her to do Formula One, it's a huge commitment at this stage of her career and her expectation level would be very high, he added. "We're not going to be fighting for the world championship in year one. Reliability is going to be very important for us and driveability and just getting the car designed and built and a new group working together as a team."