USF1 – one of the greatest failures, if not indeed the
greatest failure in F1 history – has been banned by the sport's governing body the FIA from 'any competition' in motor racing as punishment for its fanciful and ultimately farcical attempt to join the grand prix grid in 2010.
The FIA's World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) investigated the North Carolina-based outfit's vow to make its F1 debut this year and subsequent painful pleas to either delay its entry until later on in the season or else defer it altogether until 2011, after it became apparent that co-founders Peter Windsor and Ken Anderson had chronically underestimated the level of funding required to race at the highest level.
The WMSC's conclusion was that the now-defunct Charlotte concern had 'infringed the FIA International Sporting Code [and] the sporting regulations of the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship' by not following its obligations in taking up the slot that it had been granted, with the strict sanctions imposed for so doing being a fine of £255,000 plus legal costs and exclusion from any future competition. It is unclear how the fine will be paid.
A statement added that USF1 'had displayed poor financial management and had underestimated the requirement to present an F1 car for the 2010 season in the time and with the financial resources available to them'.
A liquidation auction recently brought down the final curtain on the whole sorry saga, and crushed an American dream that – on paper, at least – with the backing of YouTube
co-founder Chad Hurley, ought
to have been able to attract sufficient sponsorship to successfully make the field.
However, after a number of backers reportedly pulled the plug last year – a combined effect of widespread media cynicism about the ambitious project and the global economic recession – the team reluctantly informed the FIA just three weeks before the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix in March that it would not be ready in time.
The full WMSC statement reads as follows:
During the extraordinary hearing that was held in Geneva on 23 June 2010, the Judging Body of the World Motor Sport Council examined, in application of the new disciplinary procedure adopted at the beginning of 2010, the failure of the USF1 team to take part in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship, for which it had been selected and had registered.
Having had this disciplinary procedure submitted to it by the FIA President, who did not attend the hearing, the Judging Body of the World Motor Sport Council has found the USF1 team guilty of having infringed the FIA International Sporting Code, the sporting regulations of the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship and the obligations resulting from its entry in this championship.
In these circumstances, the Judging Body of the World Motor Sport Council has decided to impose the following sanctions against USF1:
- A fine of €309,000 (a sum equivalent to the entry fees for the championship)
- The disqualification of USF1 (which definitively deprives USF1 of the right to take part, in any way whatsoever, in any competition)
- And the payment of the costs incurred by the FIA within the context of this disciplinary procedure
USF1 has seven days to appeal the ruling, though no appeal is anticipated – and the judgement handed down will certainly act as a salutary warning to any prospective F1 2011 entrants that they must only pledge their commitment to join the top flight if they are truly capable of doing so. The procedure to select the 13th entry for next season remains ongoing.