American fans of Formula One racing will recall all too easily the debacle surrounding the USF1 team. A promising venture from the outset, the team started and stalled, but – after securing a slot on the grid for this season alongside newcomers HRT, Lotus and Virgin Racing – ultimately proved to have bitten off more than it could chew. Rather than pass the resulting vacancy on to any of the other bids waiting for their shot at the big league, the FIA has reportedly opted to leave the
The World Motor Sport Council is just catching up to USF1's premature disappearance from Formula 1. The WSMC has reportedly banned the American ex-team forever – which we're guessing means the troika of Ken Anderson, Peter Windsor and Chad Hurley – from competing in F1, and fined it $382,000 as well as legal costs.
Back in May, Formula One Group CEO Bernie Ecclestone announced that the racing organization had secured a deal with the city of Austin, Texas to bring the series to America for 10 years. All of that sounded great to American racing fans, but there have been lingering questions as to whether it was possible to get the city ready for F1 by 2012, which is when the contract is scheduled to go into effect.
The USF1 project may be dead in the proverbial water, but that hasn't deterred a group of American investors from breaking into Formula One. In fact, it only appears to have whetted their appetites as representatives headed to Montreal this past weekend for the Canadian Grand Prix to meet with Bernie Ecclestone and others to discuss new opportunities for involvement in the sport.
To quote Neil Finn's Crowded House on the subject of USF1, "Hey now, hey now, don't dream it's over." There's no need to dream, see – it really is all over. The aspiring racing outfit got rid of everything down to toasters and power strips in an auction held last week.
USF1 has officially shuttered operations in Charlotte, NC. That's according to the Charlotte Business Journal, which notes that Ken Anderson, president of the team, sent employees an email yesterday pointing to financial woes as the straw that broke the doomed camel's back. Anderson's pet racing project was supposed to jump into the Formula One fray at the Bahain Grand Prix on March 14, but couldn't quite get its act together in time. Rumors of a shut down have been dogging the USF1 team nearly
Easy come, easy go. Only it was anything but an easy arrival for USF1, the highly anticipated and much-hyped American grand prix team that was slated to hit the grid this past weekend for the start of the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship. And in the end, much as Bernie Ecclestone predicted, the team failed to make it.
The USF1 saga may have taken a turn for the worse today as Autosport reports that the hopeful team's operations have 'effectively been shut down.' Team personnel and the remainder of the operation's employees were reportedly given the news today that their services would no longer be needed, though some unknown number of them technically remain employed (albeit unpaid).
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.
A recent report out of Spain suggests that the USF1 team won't make it to the starting grid in Bahrain and that the team's chances of making it to the next two races are in question, putting the entire season in jeopardy. To make matters worse, rumors are circulating that one of the team's principle backers – YouTube founder Chad Hurley – has pulled his support from the Formula One upstart and that Brian Bonner, a former IndyCar driver and the team's head of business development, is
Reports circulating the motorsport press indicate that USF1 has signed a provisional contract with Argentine driver Jose Maria Lopez to drive for the new team next season. The arrangement, however, depends on Lopez bringing with him $8 million in sponsorship dollars, of which the young South American reportedly already has 80% in his coffers.
F1 drivers have left the grid to go to NASCAR, so why not have a NASCAR driver make the leap to Formula 1? USF1's Peter Windsor reportedly has his eye on NASCAR bad boy Kyle Busch to pilot the team's single-seater in next year's championship. The 24-year-old Busch is said to have massive talent, and he's tallied a fair number of wins in his five years of racing in three NASCAR series.
New-for-2010 Formula One World Championship entrant USF1 has stated several times its commitment to finding American drivers. That was, at least, until representatives for five-time World Rally Championship-winning driver and Frenchman Sebastien Loeb called to make some inquiries. At the moment this is just questions, two sides exploring what might be possible. But USF1 sporting director Peter Windsor did say, "We are looking more on the American side but are going to take him seriously."
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