Windsor: ‘Danica is too big for us’

Windsor USF1
Now that the Concorde Agreement has finally been signed, things can more forward at Team USF1. At least that’s the news from team co-founder Peter Windsor.

It’s an interesting position if you consider that Team USF1 have not announced any sponsorship as of yet. Even the Sports Illustrated article has Windsor evading the issue expertly. Instead, we find the issue leaked or at least rumored from inside the tech industry as we reported.

For sake of argument, we must assume that there is a substantial amount of money behind USF1 already allowing them to lease space in Charlotte, NC and hire heads. With those crucial elements in place, the focus often turns to the issue of drivers. Who will drive the USF1 cars come 2010? While the list includes many young and upcoming Americans like Jonathan Summerton, Graham Rahal and Ryan Hunter-Reay—one name it won’t include is Danica Patrick.

Windsor knows that Patrick would be a marketing juggernaut but would it be a legitimate move for a fledgling team seeking relevance and steady progression? Would it make sense for Patrick who effectively owns the Indycar series (from a marketing stance) and may just own the NASCAR series should she make the rumored move.

Windsor tacks on the topic and takes the high road of humility to dismiss Patricks possible involvement. Good move Peter. I think the move would be the worst possible situation for Danica Patrick. She would not fare well in a new car at this level of competition. Her failure to compete for wins, while no fault of her own in a fledgling car and team, would be the death knell of her career. She needs to also consider that element should she not be able to compete at the top of NASCAR as well.

“A lot of people are saying to us, ‘Are you interested in Danica? and my reply is in some respects, Danica is too big for us now. She’ll probably go to NASCAR and she’ll probably do very well there and she’ll probably make a fortune. 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.

“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 while new group working together as a team.”

Also interesting is the refusal of massive pay-to-drive money from, one has to assume, Bruno Senna and others. While that move lends itself to labeling USF1 as being true to the cause—it also means that they have massive money behind them and that they have the luxury of saying “no”.

“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 (F1’s primary development series),” Windsor said. “Both of them have massive sponsorship they can bring us from their home country. Ken and I have got to be very strong, look one another in the eye and say, ‘No, we’re not gong to accept that money, we’re not going to hire those guys because we’re going to remain true to our convictions.’

“This team is about helping young Americans (drivers) as much as it is about anything else. But it is tempting when you see all this money dangled in front of you to take it and decide the first year we’ll run two guys who aren’t Americans.”

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