USF1 has already entered the terminal vortex – that is the swirl of rumors, silence and denials that leads everyone casting pitiful glances at some entity, thinking "You stink of death." The team didn't say much when everyone was wondering what was happening, but in motorsports, everyone knows what that means: they don't have money.
Now team principle Ken Anderson has come out and admitted that the organization has financial issues and is said to be speaking with the FIA about missing the first four races of the season. His take is that "We have a timeline in place that if we get a decision quickly [granting the right to miss races], that triggers funding and we're good to go." He also clarifies that YouTube honcho Chad Hurley is still backing the team. A disgruntled employee, on the other hand, has a different take, writing to Autosport magazine that workers were told the team had funding for three years, and that the recent upheaval has led to the departure of ten of the 70 employees.
If something definitely good doesn't happen for USF1 in a matter of hours, the next phase will be the zombie zone, when a thing is still technically alive but everyone regards it as dead. Another sponsor has ended its partnership with the team, driver Jose Maria Lopez is still contracted but said to be on the verge of joining Campos F1, and the rumors of Hurley's bolting to Campos still resound. Good luck finding jockeys to jump on that horse, guys.
As we understand it, even if USF1 does get FIA approval, it still doesn't even have a car. Anderson said he wants to show up at the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona on May 9. If the FIA granted Anderson his wish today, USF1 would still have just 70 days to finish building a car and get it crash tested – and find two paying drivers to pilot it. And then, with no in-season testing, we can only surmise they'd show up on for Friday practice and be ridiculously off the pace. At this point, even if USF1 does survive... who wins? Hat tip to Peter!
[Sources: The New York Times, ESPN]