Hello America! I am Joseph Drabicki, the CEO of Florida F1. I welcome you to read about our huge project and challenge you to donate to the team. Here is how this life-long mission got started.
I grew up in central NY state. My father, an electrical engineer, was always interested in F1 and sportscar racing. When I was eight years old, my Dad took me to see the 1972 US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen. We sat on a hill at the new anvil part of the track. My father asked me which car would win? I saw a blue car, a black car and a blue car. I said the number one blue car in front would win. It did, and the driver was Jackie Stewart from Scotland. The F1 racing bug bit me.
I pursued anything with wheels on it; wood push carts I rode in my neighborhood, HO scale slot cars, Pinewood Derby cars in Cub Scouts and kart racing, starting at age 14. My first racing kart’s 2-stroke engine vibrated the vertical dove-tail mount, loosened the chain and threw it from the rear sprocket. My drafting class instructor allowed me to design a new engine mount for my kart. I designed the mount, got it fabricated and my kart never threw another chain again! That one event lead me to get my mechanical engineering degree. I knew I wanted to design and build racecars.
In college, at Chattanooga State Tech in Tennessee, I studied an unusual degree program, whereby I studied 6 different engineering disciplines: architecture, civil, electrical, mechanical, plumbing & piping and surveying. We were allowed to pick the field we wanted for our degree. I chose mechanical engineering, although architecture was a very close second choice.
One of my college engineering projects was to design an exotic 2 seat sportscar. My Krillini Ginnasta Sportiva is my re-design of a famous rallye car, the Lancia Stratos, which I did in my 1984 college manual drafting class. I produced blueprints for this car. Now, 30 years later, I plan to re-design the car, build, test, refine and put it in production. Who wants to put a deposit down and have me build the first one for you?
1979 to 2002, on weekends I participated in many types of racing: 100cc 2-stroke karts, shifterkarts, working with privateer SCCA teams with various formula cars and sportscars, racing at many road courses, hill climbs and autocross. We competed at tracks from Watkins Glen, NY down to Sebring, FL. I built a few composite prototype chassis for karts and formula cars and some aluminum body panels by hand. I was a suspension and chassis designer, driver, driver coach and instructor, chief mechanic, team manager, fabricator, plus a body and paintman. I was a Race Director for Superkarts!USA, putting on races for the pro shifterkarts. I am an artist so I always paint my own helmets. Today, I still dabble in racing karts, putting in fast lap times.
The past 30 years, 1987 to now, has been a rollercoaster ride in engineering for me, working for some well known companies, such as M&M Mars Candy, Bridgestone/Firestone Tire, IBM Corporation, Mt. Olive Pickle Company, Mack Trucks and others. I worked for small companies too, in all the fields I studied in college.
It is deeply satisfying, to have a great career, knowing that I am truly great at what I do. Currently, I work 7 days a week at three jobs to keep my bills paid, but I want a career that means more. Every day I want to use my God given talents of drawing hand sketches, designing and building awesome products for the world with Florida F1. That is what I love to do. I consider myself to be the modern day Leonardo DaVinci. Allow me to show you!
In the early 1990s, I passed out my resume to the F1 teams at a couple races and applied for jobs with teams I saw in British car magazines. In mid 2014, I applied for a job with Haas F1 to be their head chassis and suspension designer. I thought that my combined background in engineering and racing would land me a job with a Formula 1 team. I never heard back from any of them.
As soon as I mailed my letter to Haas, I knew that I wanted to start my own American F1 team. I began to write my business plan and make long term plans on how I was going to turn 30 years of engineering and racing experience into the best American F1 team ever. I have it all planned out, now let’s get going!