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Patrick may be in US team for F1 2010 season

AN American team will be racing in Formula One from 2010, and IndyCar driver Danica Patrick is a candidate to fill one of its seats.

USF1, which will be officially unveiled on February 24, will have a staff of at least 100, a working budget of 50 million euros (US$64 million) and an aim to put two American drivers on the starting grid. The team is looking at testing out a number of candidates, especially the 26-year-old Patrick.

"She's great. She gets a lot of press," USF1 technical director Ken Anderson said. "(Indianapolis Motor Speedway president) Tony George would probably be pretty mad with me if I took her out of the IRL but we'll see. I don't know if it's something she wants to do. We'd certainly love to test her and go from there."

NASCAR driver Scott Speed, who raced 28 times for F1 team Toro Rosso from 2006-07, is also a candidate.

Conor Daly, son of former F1 driver Derek Daly, and Josef Newgarden are also being mentioned, with both drivers presently competing in European junior categories.

The team will be based out of Charlotte, North Carolina, and with much of the technology coming from the United States means that "being the only game in town in the US means there are a lot of companies we can lean on to outsource," according to Anderson.

Team headquarters

The team is currently looking for a secondary base in Europe, most likely sharing with Epsilon Euskadi's team headquarters in northern Spain.

"We're talking to (F1 engineer) Sergio Rinland about basing it at Espselon. It's a beautiful city, it's certainly top of our list," said Anderson, who worked as a designer and engineer in F1 and IndyCar. "Spain makes a lot of sense with all the winter testing."

Epsilon Euskadi is active in Le Mans and there is a wind tunnel there that meets FIA standards.

Getting back into F1 was a no-brainer for Anderson. "It's the biggest sport in the world and the biggest TV show in the world," he said. "NASCAR has just become a national sport, never mind an international sport."

With the global economic downturn, more independent teams are possible, especially since FIA president Max Mosley stepped in to reign in the costs with sweeping regulation changes and cost-cutting coming into effect to avoid any other teams from pulling out.

Pete Windsor, a former team manager at Ferrari and Williams, will partner Anderson and run the competition side of the team.


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