In addition to being a long time fan of Formula 1 as a sport, Kevin Olsen is particularly passionate about growing the Formula 1 business in America and sees great potential for it to thrive. In this piece, Kevin proposes a discussion about launching an American Formula 1 team. Seemingly farfetched, he's confident that it could be a reality and outlines his vision in order to keep the 'rumor' going.
// American Dream
Today is a special day in America: Election Day. An opportunity to open up the doors to the future for our country as the Presidential race concludes. Following some reflection on the year's significant events, I looked back at the passing of American astronaut Neil Armstrong. On July 20, 1969, Armstrong became the first man to walk the moon, captivating the attention of the world as he took the most important steps of the century and redefined the bounds of human progress. Behind him, a team of talented Americans in the fields of design, engineering, science and mathematics propelled Armstrong to achieve the impossible.
Together, Americans tackle the impossible, earning a reputation for setting high standard in business, technology, education, and sport. We have much to be thankful for due to a peppered pedigree of innovators who have defined the essence of the American Dream. However, Americans continue to search for someone to fill the void and put our country at the forefront of the modern space race known as Formula 1 – arguably the most internationally significant form of motor racing.
// State of the Union
With impressive advancements in technology and sport, it seems America would have produced a strong presence in Formula 1 by now; whether it be through delivering a top car or training one of the world's best drivers. Yet year after year, the sport continues to flourish overseas as our European cousins churn out winning drivers and cars on a regular basis. That’s not to say American fans are disappointed by any means; but what could it mean to the American market to have a driver from our own backyard? Surely at least a spike in American interest in the sport.
However, America isn’t completely absent from the F1 history books; some of the most reputable names in the sport - Andretti, Hill, Gurney - all hail from the US. These icons of motorsport deserve respect for putting America on the map in Formula 1, but in the last two decades, the attempts to build an F1 team or driver as a major competitor in F1 have failed to launch.
A promising set of bids to enter Formula 1 were withdrawn by the USF1 team in 2010 and Cypher Group in 2011, indicating that many obstacles remain in the path of a F1 team from the States. There's no doubt it’s going to take the right combination of money, resources and talent at just the right location to launch a team into F1. Each of these aspects demand a specific set of criteria necessary to create the right balance and develop a strong team. More than just the team's infrastructure, the vision for the future of American Motorsports must be defined; without this vision there's no guiding principle to found the future.
// All American Team
In light of Christopher Wheelahan’s piece on Sidepodcast a few months back, I find it necessary to keep the ‘rumor’ going; it’s time for a Formula 1 team to be founded here in America. Our track in Austin will be hosting its first race in less than two weeks, and with many more circuits in the western hemisphere either coming online in 2014 or in the planning stages, significant evidence exists that F1's American growth trend is gaining speed.
Should we rise to the challenge, it could forever transform the future of American motorsports, supplemented by a positive impact on our automotive industry and creating jobs for many Americans. Though it will take years to cultivate the needed elements, especially the funding, there's nothing preventing it from happening within five years.
Five years may seem like an eternity, but long term strategy will ensure that development of an American-based F1 team is not a one hit wonder but a vision built upon solid ground, destined for the long haul. Why not two or three years? Planning with long-term strategy in mind will develop a foundation that's sustainable and responsible, making sure the best interests of the sport and its teams, sponsors, employees and business assets will outlive short term gains.
The purpose of this manifesto is to continue the discussion and push the idea forward. Chances are, if we've met and talked F1, our conversation extended beyond the recent race results and eventually ended on a vision for making F1 a serious sport in America. I'm passionate about making this idea a reality and want to work with others to see this dream fulfilled.
// Your Thoughts?
Do you want an American Formula 1 team to become a reality? What does the American audience want out of a team? What can we learn from the past and how can we use it to our advantage for our future? I invite you to add to the discussion here and hopefully we can keep the idea moving forward.