The dream of an all-American F1 team for the first time in more than two decades might have been crushed for 2010, but according to sources the other side of the Pond, USF1 is 'still hoping to field a car for the 2011 season' – despite the ongoing threat of financial sanctions from the FIA for its shambolic failure to take up its entry this year.
Arguably an ill-fated initiative right from the start, USF1 has become the highest-profile grand prix casualty and public relations disaster of 2010 to-date. As co-founders Peter Windsor and Ken Anderson hid behind a smokescreen that everything was progressing on-course, in reality precious little progress was being made at all at the factory in Charlotte, North Carolina, right in the heart of NASCAR country.
The crux of the matter was the team's spectacular inability to secure anything like the necessary sponsorship to complete its two Cosworth-powered cars, let alone make it to the curtain-raising Bahrain Grand Prix at Sakhir last weekend – and that critical underestimation of the cost of campaigning at the highest level would prove to be USF1's downfall.
Mooted mergers with both Campos Meta 1 (now Hispania Racing) and Stefan GP fell through, employees – what there were of them, anyway, with claims that there was in actual fact only one mechanic on the payroll – were laid off and requests firstly to miss the opening four races of 2010 and subsequently to be allowed to defer the entry altogether until 2011 were rejected by the FIA. Yet still USF1 refuses to die.
According to ESPN
, South Carolina-based Composite Resources – a company that has recruited two of the engineers from the defunct project – has revealed that USF1 has 'suspended operations but is still hoping to field a car for the 2011 season'.
That goal, however, might yet be scuppered should the governing body elect to punish Anderson and Windsor for having signed up to race this season and then proven unable to honour that commitment. The matter now rests in the hands of FIA President Jean Todt, who in Bahrain at the weekend refused to elaborate on the likely outcome.
“The non-appearance of USF1 is definitely a disappointment,” the Frenchman acknowledged. “The World Council has asked me to review the situation, so we will see what happens. When I say it's very disappointing, I know they have tried hard [and] made a lot of effort.
“As you all know [FIA chief technical delegate] Charlie Whiting went there and saw some facilities and some cars under construction. Unfortunately, it was not enough to have two cars at the start of the first grand prix.”