We are not dead, that was the message from 2010 F1 newcomer USF1 last night following speculation that the North Carolina-based operation was on the verge of folding and will not make it onto the grid.

Rumours of the team's fate intensified after the official website for the Peter Windsor and Ken Anderson-led outfit went down.

A message via Twitter though insisted that the project will not be stillborn: "The web server is down and is being repaired as this is written. We are not gone, as many have reported. More news soon."

The USF1 team has been dogged by cynicism and speculation ever since it was formally announced early last year, with the sport's influential commercial rights-holder, F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone repeatedly stating that he was unconvinced USF1 would ultimately make it.

Yesterday it was alleged that both key backer and YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley and head of business development Brian Bonner have left the team.

Hurley has also been linked to rival outfit Campos Meta 1 in recent days, along with USF1's only signed driver, multiple Argentine touring car champion Jose Maria Lopez - a man who has not driven a single-seater since 2006, but who can bring a reputed $8 million along with him in terms of sponsorship, $900,000 of which has already been stumped up by his country's government [see separate story - click here].

Meanwhile a statement from Lopez's management confirmed that talks have been taking place with USF1, although the precise nature of those discussions was not revealed. No payments have yet been made to the team.

"We would like to inform that yesterday, Jose Maria Lopez Sr, together with [managers] Felipe McGough and Victor Rosso, visited USF1 headquarters in Charlotte to be in contact with the team's directors," read the statement.

It added they now have "a clear understanding of the team's current situation" and are en-route to London.

"Arrangements were [then] made to have different meetings; one of them with the managers of the FOM [Formula One Management] whose president is Bernie Ecclestone.

"The result of the meeting has been positive."

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