The USA in the seventies was at time of bad wars, bad presidents, really bad trousers and really great movie making. I’m talking about angry, dark, and glorious movie making (the opposite of the trousers, If I think about it) that grabbed us by the hair and forced us to peer at the real world around us through a jewelers eye piece not rose-tinted spectacles. Marathon Man, Scerpico, The Conversation, the French Connection, Silent Running, Dog Day Afternoon, the Exorcist and, of course, The Godfather (I & II) exploded on to screens throughout the early part of the decade. But right at this particular moment, two very different but very wonderful movies from the era are parked up on blocks in the driveway of my mind.
Peter Finch won an Oscar for his portrayal of the increasingly browbeaten/deranged/apoplectic news anchor in the 1976 movie, ‘Network’. She won no awards but Amy Irving was so gloriously incandescent at the climax of the 1978 horror, ‘The Fury’, that she literally blew John Cassavetes to bits with her mind, providing one of the bloodiest denouement to any shocker that you will ever see. I empathise with both right now.
You see, I’m just very disgruntled. I can’t remember ever being gruntled, to be honest, so it is hard to know if what I am feeling is truly the opposite of that, but it sure as heck feels like it. How Peter Windsor has got me into this state I may never fully comprehend, but he has. So much so that I am back to the last bastion of the powerless, the blog!
My feelings about USF1 were nailed to the mast of the good ship ‘Midweek Motorsport’ very early on. I greeted the announcement with enthusiasm and positivity while reading and listening to Peter Windsor’s words with the eyes and ears of a way too world weary PR and marketing veteran. Over the years I have had to make more than my fair share of silk purses out of way too many sows ears. It is just too easy to spot the language that is, for want of a better phrase, attempting to ‘polish a turd’. Initially I was absolutely behind the project although I wasn’t the only one to see gaping holes in the plans. I’m afraid that is no longer the case.
Everything about the team’s launch last February, on SpeedTV, was positive and, more importantly, credible. That is probably the last time any of Windsor’s utterances came across that way. Recently, the level of ‘stalinist’ revisionism over the signing of Jose Maria Lopez and, more importantly, the promise of signing US talent, has been astonishing. Does anyone really believe that Windsor and Anderson have “been following [Lopez’s] career since he dominated the Renault V-6 Championship in 2003” or that they are “thrilled to have him come on board as we return America to Formula 1”? One can easily translate that as “we have been following his career since he came to us with almost about 75% of the $8M budget a few weeks ago”. If Lopez was always on the list of targets, why not mention him during the press launch back in February?
Windsor spoke to the BBC this week and enthused about how great it was that Argentina is getting behind one its international sportsmen. He also came out with this absolute gem:
“A lot of people will say, ‘Oh, it’s a driver with money.’ But that sidesteps the issues of how much time it takes to raise that money – and it’s still government money they are spending. I’m very proud of that.”
So Windsor is “proud” to take millions of dollars from the tax payers of a country where 11% of the population live on less than $2 per day and over 20% live below the poverty line, well done Peter. He then went on to discuss the issue of the very obvious lack of any US driving talent in the team:
“No American driver has [the necessary F1] super license,” he says, “apart from maybe Alexander Rossi – but that was very recent. “We had to draw a line. Graham Rahal and Marco Andretti haven’t got one. They may have been given one, but we couldn’t take the risk of finding in the third week of February that they’d been turned down.
One can only deduce from that statement that, there was absolutely no attempt to secure an FIA Super license for any of the prospective US talent 11 months ago when the names were initially offered as potential drivers. If there was real any real intent to place a young and talented American in the car, surely steps could have been taken to ensure that the proper license was acquired? Sadly, this is just more ‘after the fact’ nonsense from Windsor. I have been in contact with one young American driver who was also mentioned as a possible candidate by Windsor early on. He was subsequently offered the drive, if he could find $8M and the issue of him not having an FIA super license never came up. So which is it Peter? Is it the lack of the appropriate license or the lack of the appropriate bank balance?
I really could go on here and talk about the production and testing dates that continue to slide faster than a Bo-Dyn Bobsled, but I’m too drained. If only USF1 were as clinically efficient Geoff’s creations. Maybe Anderson should have asked Bodine to build the car for him? At least in Vancouver the USA will have one race team that will compete for the star and stripes with pride and honor when Bodine’s ice bullet goes for gold.
More soon, right now, I’m off to lie in a dark room and think pleasant thoughts.