The mysterious American Cypher Group is reportedly evaluating the possibility of running F1 refugee Nelsinho Piquet alongside Jonathan Summerton should it be given the nod to make its grand prix debut in 2011.
The Stateside operation is understood to be one of just three hopefuls being considered by the FIA to fill the vacant 13th grid slot next season, alongside the Villeneuve/Durango bid and Joan Villadelprat's Spanish Epsilon Euskadi single-seater and sportscar outfit, following the withdrawal from the process of widely-held favourite ART Grand Prix on financial grounds.
Whilst having had its fingers burned by the embarrassing débâcle
that was USF1 might make the governing body slightly more circumspect about admitting another entry from across the Pond quite so quickly, Brazilian reports claim the Cypher Group has recruited former Brawn GP R&D engineer Steve Brown as one of its leading members.
On the driving front, meanwhile, it is claimed that Piquet – absent from the fray since the end of last season, and regarded in some corners of the paddock as damaged goods now having willingly colluded in the greatest race-fixing scandal in F1 memory and then subsequently gone on to blow the whistle on it – is the preferred choice to partner former A1GP and Indy Lights ace Summerton, who was similarly a candidate for USF1.