Charlotte, Saturday: The team currently known as USF1 has applied to the FIA for a name change ahead of the 2010 season, amid reports that it has been rebranded to represent the motorsports interests of a different country.
“Assuming we can get the paperwork done, we plan on entering F1 in 2010 as Team Turkmenistan F1,” team principal Ken Anderson told reporters today. “We have already purchased a small facility near Ashgabat and will be commencing operations shortly.”
Anderson revealed that abandoning the team’s “USA” branding had been unavoidable after a lack of national interest: “We surveyed the people of America and overwhelmingly found that nobody would care about the fortunes of the team unless we had Danica Patrick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. racing for us. We were prepared to pull out all the stops but frankly some things are too stupid even to consider,” Anderson revealed.
“Instead we have chosen to represent the motorsports interest of a country with a comparable heritage in European motorsports to the United States, and we are proud to announce that the glorious Democratic Party of Turkmenistan has given us their blessing to compete in Formula One under their flag from 2010.”
Anderson suggested that a desire to promote young Turkmen talent was also a reason for switching the team’s focus: “For some reason no Turkmen has ever driven in F1,” he said. “There is a wealth of young talent in this proud country and we are determined to exploit it to rise to the very pinnacle of motorsport.”
Hopes that the Central Asian state could eventually host a Grand Prix have been met with a mixed reception by existing Formula One teams; Turkmenistan is a market of little importance to the car manufacturers, with just twelve Fiat Unos being sold in the country in 2007. “Nonetheless this is an emerging market and a powerhouse of the future,” Anderson proclaimed, to barely concealed laughter from his audience.