2016 F1 Season Could Bring Two U.S. Teams On the Grid
The 2016 Formula One season could see a second U.S.-owned team join the grid in addition to Haas F1. That’s the word from a Motorsport.com, which claims that an investment group led by promoted Tavo Hellmund and financier James Carney are "actively attempting to buy an existing team."
There’s no information as to which team the group wants to buy, but it is believed the Americans are looking at the British Manor F1 team, currently headed by Irish businessman Stephen Fitzpatrick. The squad originally entered the sport in 2010 as Virgin Racing and was renamed Marussia F1 in 2012. It scored its only two points in Formula One in 2014. This year’s cars are powered by last year’s Ferrari hybrid engine and driven by rookies Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi. Manor is the only team not to score a single point in 2015 after nine races.
While James Carney has no previous experience with motorsport, Tavo Hellmund is no stranger to F1. The Austin businessman developed the Circuit of the Americas to bring the sport back to the U.S. and spearheaded the return of F1 to Mexico City after a 23-year absence.
Should this deal go through, the new American team would join Haas F1, led by NASCAR team owner Gene Haas. The new squad, which would expand the F1 grid to 11 teams, has signed a technical partnership with Ferrari and will be based in Banburry, England. Word has it one of the Haas cars will be driven by American driver Alexander Rossi.
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Why It Matters?
The prospect of seeing not one, but two U.S. teams on the grid in 2016 is more than exciting. However, the report is purely speculative as of now, and until either the investor group or the FIA confirms it, Haas F1 remains the only U.S. team to join the sport next season.
Not that I wouldn’t want to see fresh blood in F1, but I’ve seen so many failed attempts in the past that I’ve learned to take any rumor with a grain of salt until an official statement is issued. Some may remember that the U.S. F1 Team, which was aiming to be the only F1 team based outside Europe, was granted entry to the 2010 season, but failed to join the sport due to funding challenges. Hopefully, this won’t be the case here and we will see a second U.S. team on the grid.