US F1: “Danica Patrick is too big for us”

US F1 has turned down the opportunity to sign lucrative deals with pay-drivers for its formula one championship debut next year.

“We’ve been offered well over three quarters of our racing budget by two drivers already, neither of whom have raced in formula one but both have won races in GP2,” said the American team’s co-principal Peter Windsor.

“Both of them have massive sponsorship they can bring us from their home country,” Briton Windsor, also revealing that neither of the pay-drivers are American, said in an interview with Sports Illustrated.

He said the pay-drivers were turned down.

“(Fellow principal) Ken (Anderson) and I have got to be very strong, look one another in the eye and say, ‘no, we’re not gong to accept that money, we’re not going to hire those guys because we’re going to remain true to our convictions’,” said Windsor.

Windsor, a well-known F1 journalist and broadcaster, said it is US F1’s aim to give both cockpits to young American hopefuls. In 2010, however, one of the seats could go to an experienced non-American veteran, for instance Austrian Alex Wurz.

Mentioned by the specialist press as among the favourites for the second seat are Americans including Jonathan Summerton, Graham Rahal and Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Another oft-mentioned candidate is the female Indycar star Danica Patrick, but she recently played down her interest and revealed that US F1 has not made an approach.

“A lot of people are saying to us ‘are you interested in Danica?’ and my reply is in some respects, Danica is too big for us now. She’ll probably go to NASCAR and she’ll probably do very well there and she’ll probably make a fortune,” said Windsor.

“For her to do formula one, it’s a huge commitment at this stage of her career and her expectation level would be very high. We’re not going to be fighting for the world championship in year one,” he said.

Windsor also revealed that US F1 has signed the new Concorde Agreement.