The first round of the A1GP season at Surfers Paradise has been cancelled amid further rumours of the series collapsing due to financial difficulties.
After days of uncertainty, Gold Coast Motor Events Company (GCMEC) finally terminated their contract with A1GP, citing their reason as “A1GP's failure to fulfil their contractual obligations.” SuperGP Manager Greg Hooton said “It’s obviously disappointing that GCMEC has had to terminate the contract, but plans have been put in place to ensure a full program for when the 2009 Nikon SuperGP commences on Thursday October 22.”
A1GP obtained the SuperGP slot originally thanks to talks with the IRL breaking down and being able to take their slot. Instead, V8 Supercars has been left as the single headline series.
Series boss Tony Teixeira insists A1GP will still carry out its fifth season despite these setbacks.
“I want to personally apologise to the people affected by this regrettable but unavoidable decision,” said Teixeira. “We were proud to be part of what has become one of the world’s most iconic motorsport events, and are devastated at the decision we have had to make.”
Rumours of the series’ collapse seem to have reasonable evidence backing it, after A1GP Operations Ltd recently went into liquidation. It is also rumoured that Ferrari have terminated their contract for A1GP with immediate effect, supposedly for defaulted payments by series organisers. Until recently A1GP didn’t even have access to their cars, as shipping company Delivered On Time had withheld equipment over the summer, also citing unpaid bills as their reason for such action.
A statement by A1GP said “One effect of the UK operating arm of the series going into liquidation in June was that access to the cars and the ability to pay its suppliers has been impeded. What should have been a summer upgrading the machinery in time for the first race of the 2009/10 season has turned into a frustrating time for achieving this.”
Meanwhile Teixeira is still adamant that the series has a healthy future ahead of it.
“A1GP may be down, but I do not accept we are out. We have had four exciting seasons that have proved we are a force in the sport and now we shall consolidate on what we have achieved to date. My efforts will be on finding a way forward with the support of some very loyal people.”
However the next round of the championship is scheduled to be on 15th November, in the Chinese city of Zhuhai. Whether Teixeira & Co. can put the series back on course in the next four weeks is yet to be seen, but so far it seems there is little to be optimistic about.