North Carolina-based USF1 expected bumps in the road, but Formula One head honcho Bernie Ecclestone provided a surprise of another sort.
Claiming to own the rights to the title "F1," Ecclestone has forced USF1, a newcomer to the Formula One scene, to change its name to USGPE (United States Grand Prix Engineering) if they want to compete in the series as early as next year.
While this may seem like the latest in the Bernie Ecclestone fiasco, it does come as a surprise.
Williams, Renault, Toyota, and Force India all have the term F1 in their team names without objection. In fact, Ecclestone's company, Formula One Licensing was not granted a trademark over "F1" but rather FIA Formula One World Championship in 2007, thus freeing the term "F1" for public use.
This is not the first instance of Ecclestone doing such a thing however. He has informed Force India that their "FI" logo resembles the "F1" logo and must be changed.
No response from either USF1 or Force India has been made public regarding Ecclestone's demands.