USF1 have asked the FIA if they can defer their entry into Formula 1 until 2011, citing sponsor issues as the reason for their failure to make it to the grid this season.
This move follows months of speculation over the financial condition of the team. In February the North Carolina-based outfit asked permission to miss the opening races of 2010 while the car was being built, and then last week reports claimed that the team was on the verge of collapse.
Speaking to the BBC, team principal Ken Anderson said that the team will survive if, and only if, the FIA grant their request .”If the FIA say no we are done. If they say yes we can put it back in gear and go.” In the same interview, Anderson did admit that USF1 had investigated the possibility of partnering another team.
Charlie Whiting, the FIA technical chief, has visited the team’s factory, and is said to be confident that the team are capable of producing a decent car. The FIA will make a statement about USF1 shortly.
This month’s F1 Racing magazine reports on a visit to the USF1 factory in Charlotte, and paints a picture of a well-equipped and focused Formula 1 team who do have a car designed, but lack some crucial elements, namely time, staff, and money.
The team have signed up Argentinian JosÃ© Maria LÃ³pez to drive their unbuilt car, but it was reported last week that he may go to Campos, which was yesterday renamed to Hispania.
This news also has implications for the Serbian-based Stefan GP, who have been lobbying to take USF1’s place on the starting grid in Bahrain using last year’s Toyota cars.
In fact Eddie Jordan, who is fast becoming some sort of F1 prophet, understands that Stephan will be racing in Bahrain, with Jacque Villeneuve in one of their cars, Kazuki Nakajima is tipped for their other seat.