The revamped Honda F1 team could be setting a trend with its 'austerity' budget of around 60m euros for the 2009 F1 season.

 Autosport b&w print Don't get me wrong here; I'm not quite expecting ration books to appear in the Paddock Club, but we can expect rival operations to be watching with interest to see just how this low-budget operation fares in the current financially strapped F1 environment.

I'm sure two of those who will be watching with more interest than most will be the fledgling 'USF1' operation, which will unveil its plans for 2010 within the next couple of weeks.

Founded by experienced F1 and Indycar engineer Ken Anderson and my good friend Peter Windsor - a former Autocar sports editor - USF1 will probably design and build its cars in Charlotte, North Carolina, and operate them out of a base in Spain.

They also have the tacit blessing of FIA president Max Mosley, who recently described them as 'serious people' while adding that such new F1 operations could only make sense of the business if the sport's costs continued to be trimmed dramatically before the start of next year's championship contest.

The first US Formula One team was the Scarab operation, founded and funded by Lance Reventlow, the millionaire son of Woolworths heiress Barbara Hutton, in 1960. The cars, though beautifully engineered, were out of date before they ever raced.

1960 Monaco Grand Prix.
World © LAT Photographic In 1967 American driver Dan Gurney won the Belgian Grand Prix driving his own Eagle-Weslake and between 1974 and 76, the Penske and Vel's Parnelli Jones Formula One teams mounted a serious challenge.

In 1976 John Watson won the Austrian grand prix in a Penske, but Mario Andretti's Formula One career was badly disrupted when the Parnelli squad withdrew after only a handful of races that same season. Let's hope USF1 gets much further than that.


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