The sorry and well-publicised débâcle
of USF1 has finally reached the perhaps inevitable conclusion, with news that the beleaguered and much-maligned North Carolina-based operation 'has ceased operations' due to 'serious economic and funding challenges' – though still it seems Ken Anderson refuses to accept that the dream is dead.
USF1 publicly and spectacularly failed to take up its place on the F1 2010 starting grid following myriad issues – the root cause of which it is believed was a chronic underestimation of the costs involved in competing in the top flight, despite the financial support and clout of YouTube
co-founder Chad Hurley and $8 million in funding from Argentine driver José María López.
Early last month, employees at the team's Charlotte headquarters in the heart of NASCAR country – or what there were of them, according to reports – were left in limbo by being put on indefinite unpaid leave when it became apparent that the first American entry in more than two decades was not going to make the field for the Bahrain Grand Prix curtain-raiser.
Now, local newspaper the Charlotte Business Journal
has revealed that team principal and co-founder Anderson has e-mailed all staff to inform them that they are being permanently laid off, citing 'serious economic and funding challenges', albeit leaving the door ajar by adding that if the required sponsorship and investment is – some would say miraculously – found to allow for a renewed bid in 2011, they could be re-hired. At least nine employees are said to have filed complaints over unpaid wages with the N.C. Department of Labor.
It is understood that Anderson's co-founder Peter Windsor has long since departed the scene, and the complete shutdown ostensibly draws a line under one of the most embarrassing sagas in F1 in recent years – and has left the all-American dream lying sadly in tatters.