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FIA Gives USF1 OK To Test

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, January 8 2010

usf1 driver, ownerBy Jonathan Ingram | Senior Writer

The US F1 team’s new car will run its first test at the Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama in early February. The team has sought and been granted a dispensation to test outside of the three venues in Spain designated by the FIA for pre-season testing.

“We got the dispensation from the FIA, which is fantastic, because we are not based in Europe,” said Peter Windsor, the team’s sporting director. “We are the only team that does have a test circuit outside Europe, so it is totally logical for us to run the car the first time in the U.S. at the beginning of February.”

The team, which has yet to announce drivers, is expected to unveil its new car in the final week of January, and then run three tests at the Barber circuit near Birmingham, which meets the FIA criteria for F1 safety and is located about 400 miles from US F1’s base in Charlotte.

All F1 teams are all limited to 15,000 kilometers of pre-season testing, which will begin at Valencia’s Ricardo Tormo circuit on Feb. 1-3. The other testing dates are at Jerez (Feb. 10-13 and Feb. 17-20) and at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya (Feb. 25-28).

Windsor said US F1 will run three tests at Barber and then run along with the other F1 teams in Spain. None of the teams are expected to announce in advance which test days in Spain they will participate in and which drivers will appear at the various circuits.

Although US F1 has yet to name its drivers, former F1 test driver Jose Maria Lopez of Argentina has presented the guarantees for $8 million in sponsorship and is expected to be confirmed at the car’s unveiling in January. Windsor has declined to specify whether the team is looking for a veteran driver.

“We are very close to announcing our drivers,” said Windsor in an interview at the official F1 web site. “We’ve been talking to some great racing drivers over the last couple of months and it is very difficult choosing from the good drivers that are around.

“I think there are still a lot and the difficult thing is to choose only two out of ten that are available. It’s a difficult job and I hate having to do that. We have not signed our forward deals yet in terms of the contracts, but we are pretty near to announcing.”

US F1 will be one of four new teams entering F1 in the season beginning March 14 at Bahrain and the first to build a chassis in the U.S. since Dan Gurney’s Eagles in the last 1960’s. US F1 and the other start-ups at Campos, Virgin F1 and Lotus will all be powered by Cosworth.

The Campos Meta 1 entry is being desgned and built by Dallara Automobili in Italy. The Virgin F1 entry is being produced by Wirth Research in Britain, where Lotus F1 Racing will build a car for the first time in 15 years at facilities in Norfolk.

Jonathan Ingram can be reached at jingram@racintoday.com.

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, January 8 2010