Formula One’s new Team U.S. F1 will have the financial backing of YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley — and the video sharing Web site’s chief executive expects to make a big impact in motorsport.
The American, who along with co-founders Steve Chen and Jawed Karim sold YouTube to internet giant Google for $1.65 billion in 2006, has faith in the team’s prospects for the 2010 season. It is fronted by engineer Ken Anderson, formerly involved with NASCAR team Haas CNC Racing, and Peter Windsor, a journalist who has worked with F1’s Ferrari and Williams. “I believe in Ken and Peter and the team that they have put together, and I believe that we have a chance to hopefully start from a clean slate and try to build a team in a different way,” Hurley told Web site Autosport.com. Hurley started YouTube from scratch, and sees parallels with his involvement with US F1. “The business aspect of what attracted me to US F1 is just that, that it is a start-up,” he said. “And it’s a very similar situation to one that would be in Silicon Valley. “It’s a small team of talented, smart individuals trying to break the mould, trying to accomplish something that others think is impossible.”
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However, Hurley does not expect instant success for the new franchise, which will be the only F1 outfit based outside of Europe and comes into the sport in difficult economic times when sponsors are dropping out. “Obviously we want to be competitive,” he told Autosport.com. “I know there is going to be a lot of competition — it’s going to take quite a few years to ramp up this team and get the cars into a position where we are competing for the world championship, but ultimately that’s our goal. “We’re not necessarily going to get involved and be satisfied with just getting a car onto the track. Our aspirations and goals go much farther than that.” While major manufacturers have been reviewing their participation in motorsport’s premium category — Honda withdrew at the end of last year and BMW will end its association with Sauber at the end of this season — Hurley is confident that he can find other investors to back the American team. “I hope so, and I hope it goes beyond Silicon Valley,” he said. “I am definitely going to be involved in helping the team with sponsors, helping the team with business relationships, and helping the team with integrating technology — ways that they can leverage and benefit from social media and the Internet broadly. “So in many ways, I hope to add benefit to the team and what they are trying to accomplish.”