- 5 Minutes With ... Peter Windsor
'We've been flat out since early August'
Following the announcement of two more new F1 teams for 2010 this week, GPWeek spent some time with one of the original 'new team' bosses, Peter Windsor, to discuss the US F1 project. It's been a while since we heard from him and the sceptics were starting to get a bit worried that things had gone too quiet... but you'll be pleased to know that, as he confirms, plans are well advanced for the team's debut next season. He spoke to Will Buxton
Peter, how are preparations going for 2010? It's been a while since we heard from you.
Very well, thanks. I think some people are wondering what we're up to but the reality is that we've been flat out since early August (when the Concorde Agreement finally got signed), setting up our factory in Charlotte, putting everything in place and getting ready to start the car build. Because we are doing the car ourselves (as distinct from contracting a third-party) obviously we have more preparation work than some of the other new teams. The payoff, though, is in getting everything right from day one. Visit us in November/December and you'll see a great F1 facility working on some beautiful race cars at 100% commitment level.
There have been some reports in the press that the project is running behind schedule and that the factory is empty. What's the truth behind the rumours?
See above. Everything is on schedule. The only thing that took a lot of time was the above-mentioned signing of the Concorde Agreement.
How's the car design going and when do you hope to have your first chassis ready to roll?
When you say "roll", do you mean "with engine" or as a "rolling" chassis? If you mean "with Cosworth", it'll be rolling just before the first test of 2010.
The Formula One Team's Association (FOTA) has said you're in discussions with them about joining. Any updates on progress?
It's going very well. We've joined. F1 in 2010 will be starting a whole new era. It's a privilege for us to be playing a part in that.
There's a chance we might see a 28-car grid next year. How pleased are you to see Formula One in such fine health, and so much interest from new nations such as Malaysia and yourselves in the States to take F1 to new markets?
Ken Anderson and I have been saying for the last four years that the future of F1 is (a) the big, historical teams and (b) teams that represent countries. That's why we decided to do an American team. If you can't be a manufacturer or a massively wealthy energy drinks company, why not be a country? I think it's only a matter of time before we have a Brazilian team, a Middle Eastern team and maybe a Russian team. It's the future.
Speaking about the States, we've heard you're thinking about having your motor home set-up like a proper US diner complete with booths, French toast and malt milkshakes for breakfast and burgers and vanilla Coke for lunch. Please tell us that it is true. It would be awesome!
Not sure about the French toast but the rest of it sounds pretty good! Can't deny it. Both Ken and I have a very soft spot (too many soft spots, as it happens!) for burgers and Coke. I'm also partial to great black and white photos of Marilyn Monroe, Chuck Yeager, Ava Gardner, Masten Gregory and Frank Sinatra, so I guess a diner would work pretty well.
You announced a link up with YouTube not too long ago. How deep will the relationship pull, and what do you have in store to fully exploit the online potential created by the tie-in?
Sorry to be pedantic, but what we actually announced was that Chad Hurley, a co-founder of YouTube and now a board director of Google (where he now runs YouTube) is playing a major role in our team and its development. Media-wise, we're going to have a lot of fun. Chad is an amazing man. One of the most intelligent I have ever met. In the midst of the recession, and without ever having seen an F1 race, he had the vision to stand up and acknowledge that F1 is the greatest TV sport in the world. Everyone in F1 should take note of that.
Finally, drivers. You said you'd have a better idea over their identity in September. Well, we're in September, so can you spill the beans? Any chances of seeing our good mate Jonathan Summerton in the car?
Still no news, I'm afraid. I predicted September when I though the Concorde Agreement was going to be signed in May. Give me a little more time … You're right about Summerton, though. He has done a great job this year in Atlantics. It's been a good year in general for young Americans - Josef Newgarden, Alex Rossi, Conor Daly, JR Hildebrand, Gabby Chaves… the future is bright.
This article originally appeared in GP Week on September 21, 2009. Click here to sign up to GP Week.