Speed Channel's new headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., last Tuesday hosted and televised a live press conference announcing a planned new U.S.-based Formula One racing team.
It made sense: The team will be based in or near Charlotte and Speed is the U.S. TV home for F1 racing and the "USF1" team's principals are Ken Anderson and Peter Windsor, who does pit-lane reporting for Speed at F1 races.
The first F1 race in 2009 is the Australian Grand Prix, on Saturday, March 29, at 2 a.m. ET.
There hasn't been a F1 race in the United States since Indianapolis hosted one in 2007, and there hasn't been a U.S.-based F1 team for years, but Anderson and Windsor said Formula One Management CEO Bernie Ecclestone and other powers that be encouraged their efforts to join the F1 racing schedule starting in 2010.
Windsor, USF1's sporting director, was asked if his new role will conflict with his job interviewing drivers and other F1 team members.
"I'm sure Ferrari will tell their two drivers not to be interviewed by me, not to give away any secrets," the English-born Windsor, who once worked for Ferrari's F1 team, said. "That's fine with me - it's their problem. I can't imagine anyone else will have a problem because I've been doing this for three years, USF1, even if they didn't know about it, and it hasn't exactly hurt anyone."
"A lot of people do a lot of different things between races and what I've tried to do is put a new Formula One team together," he said. "Most people in Formula One racing have been incredibly supportive and optimistic about this whole thing."
Windsor also said his Speed Channel work (after years of F1 coverage for Sky Sports in the United Kingdom and for Fox Sports here) helped with his USF1 efforts, including setting meetings with potential investors.
Speed Channel hopes USF1 bases itself near Speed in Charlotte, but has no formal connection with the team, officials said.
Windsor said the team expects to announce some TV plans in coming weeks. It will have TV production facilities within its headquarters, he said, and plans to apply NASCAR's successful approach to marketing drivers and teams to the normally secretive Formula One.
"We're in the entertainment business," Windsor said. "We're going to try and do the best TV show we can possibly do, 24/7."
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