US F1 to complete first tests in USA
The first US F1 car will make its debut on an American circuit.
Team boss Peter Windsor told the official F1 website that the FIA had granted special dispensation to allow winter testing for US F1 away from the normal European group sessions.
"Because we are a new team and start everything from zero, the first time we will run the car will be in the United States at the Barber Motorsport Park in Alabama, the circuit that was nominated by the FIA for us," he said.
Windsor added that the maiden test will take place "at the beginning of February", but was not more specific. He said the FIA dispensation allows for three tests in the US, before the car is shipped to Spain "to do some testing there before we fly out to Bahrain".
It has been reported recently that Argentine driver Jose Maria Lopez is close to finalising his sponsorship package for a US F1 race seat, while the Briton James Rossiter is rumoured to be in contention for the other.
"We are very close to announcing our drivers" Windsor said. "We've been talking to some great people over the last couple of months - and it is very difficult choosing from the good drivers that are around. We have not signed our deals yet in terms of the contracts, but we are pretty near to announcing."
But he would not be pinned on how much experience he expects his drivers to have.
"If you are a new team with no data the logical thing is to have an incredibly experienced F1 driver in the car," he said. "Equally you could say it's an opportunity to give two young guys with a lot of talent a chance to come on board with fresh, clean minds, grow with the team and operate within the system the team is going to work within."
He also refused to rule out the possibility of employing pay drivers.
"All we can do is look at what is available," Windsor said. "We are a start-up team so we have to look at every opportunity. If there are companies out there that have associations with a driver because they have been supporting him for quite a while, or representing a country, or whatever, obviously we have to look at that. Providing the driver can do the job as well."