Before the start of the Australian Grand Prix, I had the privilege of having a lengthy one on one interview with PETER WINDSOR, who is co-owner of the new American Formula One team – Team US F1.
Q – Is it difficult to build a car when the rules aren’t known?
A – Not necessarily. It’s only March and it doesn’t take that long to design and equip a Formula One car.
For example, we don’t need to know what engine we’ll be running until June, as they’re all templated engines. We know roughly what the car’s going to be. The basic outline of the car has already been drawn and it will be a question of all the little details that every F1 team adds, spending an awfully lot of time and in their cases, a lot of money – all the compound curves on the inlets for the radiator, all the airflow under the car – all those little details. we’ll be doing from May onward. In terms of general layout – the car is designed already.
Q – So the car will be built and the driver can sit in the seat, but you can’t test.
A – No, we’re not allowed to do any testing. They may change those rules. And I understand there are moves within the FIA as we won’t be the only new team in 2010, to change the rules to allow the new teams to do some testing in the course of the previous year. But at the moment the rules don’t allow it, and we can’t plan our timeline on maybies or possibilities. The worse scenario at the moment is no testing in 2009. Having said all that, if you start testing on January first, and the first race is at the end of March, that’s a lot of testing. That’s almost three months of testing, and I understand that the Regulations are going to allow up to 1500 km’s of testing on the engine. We can do a lot in that period of time. So I’m not worried about that situation at all.
(ED Note: The possibility of a 2009 testing waiver for new Formula One teams has been raised with MAX MOSLEY, for cars with an entirely new chassis – as opposed to a ‘customer car’ and it was a point no one has thought of. It has already been discussed with Windsor and Anderson. The issue is the amount of time a brand new chassis requires to be sorted and de-bugged and the fact that the team starts with zero data as well as new drivers – who will have to get a Super Licence. The three months between January and the first race in March is very short, weather is not always ideal and some feel a new team ought to be able to use this 2009 season. If the team went in the wrong direction, it would have no time to recover under the present rules. Some insiders feel that if a new team were to request such a testing waiver that it could be granted.)