José María López has admitted that in hindsight he 'put too much trust' in the ultimately hollow claims of USF1 co-founders Peter Windsor and Ken Anderson upon agreeing to race for the shambolic American effort in F1 2010 – as he hit out at the two team leaders for having 'hid things from us'.
López was officially announced as having signed to compete for USF1 in late January for what was due to have been the North Carolina-based concern's maiden campaign in the top flight – thereby bringing an end to the deafening silence over the squad's likely driver line-up for 2010, or half of it at least.
However, as the days and weeks went on, it became increasingly apparent that – regardless of the $8 million in backing the Argentine was reputedly bringing to the table – USF1 was not going to make it, having grossly underestimated the cost of competition at the highest level and been unable to secure adequate sponsorship.
Requests firstly to skip the opening four 'flyaway' grands prix in order to have sufficient time to get its cars ready, and subsequently to defer its spot altogether until 2011 were both refused by governing body the FIA, and the team billed as the first American entry in F1 in more than two decades will not be on the starting grid in 2010 – and indeed, likely, not ever.
The failure to make the grade left former Renault
F1 test driver López high-and-dry – and now the 26-year-old has criticised USF1's key players for having in the end spectacularly failed to deliver on their promises and shattered his dreams, after months of public denials that there was any crisis or possibility of not making it.
“I find it hard to say that we did it wrong,” he is quoted as having said by Sky Sports
, palpably angry and arguing that he was misled. “I think we put too much trust in what people were telling us.
“As soon as I arrived in Charlotte in February, I realised that everything they were saying was not true. What happened to us was unthinkable; in 60 years of Formula 1 it never happened that a team signed up and didn't make it. They hid things from us.”
Having extracted himself from his contract with the stillborn USF1 operation, López went on to try desperately to secure an eleventh-hour deal with rival F1 2010 newcomer Hispania Racing (HRT), but the former Campos outfit elected instead to plump for fellow GP2 Series race-winner Karun Chandhok – leaving the only options remaining available to the reigning double Argentine Touring Car Champion now testing roles.
“My idea is to go on, not lay my head down,” he underlined. “Everybody knows what happened. We are going to go on, even though as of today we have no firm project. Of course it's not the same anymore – there have been many falls, and I don't know how long I can take it, or my family. [Testing] would be the easiest thing because racing in F1 is almost impossible this year. At some point I will be making the decisions.”