Breaking news from ESPN yesterday announcing that USF1 has cancelled its crash testing and interviews with no sign of a complete chassis or any indication as to when it would test anything. Further reports state that the company is having difficulty paying its staff and has put it’s Charlotte based factory up for sale.
Last week, it was announced that many key staff have left the firm due to delays in their wages. Chad Hurley, the Youtube founder who was seen as a big backer and sponsor of the team, has also been rumoured to be looking elsewhere to invest his hard earned dollars with Campos, or with the wonderful people at Stefan Grand Prix! Hurley, clearly intent on investing somewhere in Formula One and he could be forgiven that when he signed the deal with an American Formula One team, his cash would have been well spent. Indeed, Bernie Eccelestone was having wet breams about the exposure that Youtube could bring to Formula One.
(OFF TOPIC NOTE: Rather ironic don’t you think, given the troubles that many of us have had when trying to post Formula One videos on Youtube. Although, I gather that some of mine are still working. Hello to all of you who can come from there! FOM Copyright my arse…)
ESPN also report that Argentinian driver Jose Maria Lopez is rather sensibly jumping from the sinking ship and swimming towards the shores of Campos F1 and once again, the fantastic people at Stefan Grand Prix! Although there are more rumours of drivers interested in the Stefan Grand Prix seats due to the fact that the chassis, engine and gearbox are all the stillborn Toyota designs.
The case of Jose Maria Lopez is a curious one due to the fact that he was publicly backed by Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner who announced the deal in an official statement before USf1 could break the news. Effectively, he was the people’s driver, someone to try to reignite the history and passion of Argentinian racing from the days of Fangio in a way that Gastón Hugo Mazzacane could not.
HELLO TO USF1 UPDATE:
Announced this morning via their twitter site, USF1 says “The web server is down and is being repaired as this is written. We are not gone, as many have reported. More news soon.”It would appear that there is more to come from the USF1 story.
After last weeks mixed announcements of “Non!” and “Oui!” from FIA regarding the missing of three races in 2010, USf1 appear to be on a razors edge. If they do make it and are light-years off the pace, then the recent years of grids being separated by 1.5 seconds are most certainly gone and we’ll be back to the days of the early 90’s were a team could be at least 7-8 seconds off the pace. USf1 and Campos Meta (more on them later) are promising that they will show up in Bahrain but without any testing and we all know what happened to the last team that did that...