HIS GRAND PRIX DRIVING CAREER amounted to just two starts for Wolf in 1978, but Rahal went on to a successful lndycar career, both behind the wheel and as a team owner. Then in 2002 he found himself back in Fl as team principal at Jaguar an experience that was both short-lived and unhappy. More than any other American, Rahal understands how challenging modern Fl will be for a new team.
“There’s no reason why you can’t build an Fl car here in the States. I think you can do it probably just as easily here as you could anywhere else. “The biggest thing is that you have to have some engineers with Fl experience. Whether it’s track set-ups or knowing the right people in Europe, it’s still necessary to have a high level of European influence or direction. The other factor is that in England especially there’s such a coffage industry that has developed over the years. There’s just a lot of expertise in the UK. So
it’s not like it can’t be done in the US, but I think it would be more difficult. “My only concern about having a European base in Spain would be acquiring the talent that you need to maintain and operate the cars. One of the big challenges Toyota faced in the beginning of their Fl programme was that they were in Germany and everybody else was in England. Over time it doesn’t maffer, but initially I think it makes it more difficult. For the first couple of years it hurt Toyota’s progress but now they’re gaffing there. But they’ve spent tremendous sums of
money to get to that point. “There is a lot of technology and capability in the US. But I don’t know whether it can be done as efficiently, at least in the short term, as it could in
Europe, or England in particular. That would be the big challenge. There’s a lot of technology in Charloffe and Southern California. To me, the design and build part would not be so difficult. I think the greater difficulty would be the operation of the team.
“There’s probably a number of people in this country who have the wherewithal or access to resources to do it because there are still a lot of people who like the idea of competing on a world stage rather than just a national stage. Dan Gurney did it years ago and there’s no reason why it can’t be done again. But it’s just a harder thing to accomplish than if you did it the conventional way. The further you get out of England, the more difficult it becomes.”