The US-based Cypher Group has ended its interest in joining the Formula One grid next season, citing a lack of necessary funding to complete the programme to its satisfaction.
The bid was derided when it first emerged, coming so soon after the embarrassment of the USF1 project, but Cypher always insisted that it had no intention of taking F1 for the sort of ride its predecessor achieved, and has been true to its word by backing away when it realised it was not yet equipped to follow through.
“We remain committed to developing a credible and viable F1 team, and were able to raise a considerable amount of sponsorship and interest in recent months,” a statement on the team's official website announced, "However, after much deliberation, we have decided that the budget we have is not sufficient to allow us to pursue the project in a manner befitting the series. It was not an easy decision, but one made out of respect for the FIA F1 world championship and our loyal supporters."
USF1, headed by engineer Ken Anderson and journalist Peter Windsor, was granted an entry for 2010 alongside Virgin Racing (nee Manor F1) and HRT (nee Campos Meta 1), but failed to make the grid amid a lack of sufficient funding. Unlike Cypher, however, the team refused to accept its position until it was too late to make a dignified exit, leaving the 13th spot on the grid unfilled.
The Cypher Group has confirmed that its interest in joining the grand prix field is not over, and 'is reviewing projects and opportunities that will allow it to achieve the ultimate goal of entering F1 in the near future'. Little is known about the people behind the bid, but US hopeful Jonathan Summerton, rumoured to have been in line for the third driver slot at USF1, was again being mentioned as a candidate for one of the team's two seats next season.
Cypher's withdrawal follows that of expected favourite for the 2011 slot, ART Grand Prix, and leaves Epsilon Euskadi and Durango/Villeneuve Racing leading the race to join the grid.