Last night, Autosport ran a story alleging the poor management of USF1 by team principle Ken Anderson. This information comes from an anonymous source claiming that employees are uncertain as to when they will be paid next and that the car is weeks behind schedule.
The insider said that USF1 investor Chad Hurley (Youtube founder) was the only person to turn the team around. “We feel Hurley and Parris Mullins [adviser to Hurley] have our best interest [at heart] and also feel Hurley has no intention of abandoning us even though the media has said he’s gone with Campos.”
This is a strange statement given the fact that the next story on Autosport reads “Jose Maria Lopez’s manager Felipe McGough says talks are underway between Campos owner Jose Ramon Carabante and US F1 investor Chad Hurley to secure a deal that will ensure Lopez can race in Formula 1 this year.”
Given that Ken Anderson and journalist Peter Windsor are the two media faces of USF1, the insiders information shows that the teams employees have no faith in Anderson or Windsor to guide the ailing team to the 2010 grid.
Indeed, the insider goes on to say that Peter Windsor is not entirely to blame for the downfall of the team, given the fact that he was acting as sponsorship attractor and driver scout and largely away from the outfit’s headquarters in Charlotte.
“Having failed to put out a car, sponsorship money didn’t materialise,” continued the staff member. “That wasn’t for Windsor’s lack of trying. I do know that Windsor was told of our progress on a number of occasions off the record in informal settings, but it took a very contentious shop meeting in late January/early February for him to twig [that] indeed we had an issue.
“In a meeting between the employees, Windsor and Anderson, Windsor put the question up to the employees: ‘Who here doesn’t think we’ll make Bahrain?’ I think Windsor might have meant it somewhat rhetorically, but he was answered nonetheless, and 100 per cent of the staff raised their hands. He was visibly shocked.”
The USF1 insider clearly puts the blame for the delay in the manufacturer of the car at Ken Anderson’s feet. “All engineering decisions were having to be funneled through [Ken] Anderson before anything could be signed off. And that’s where the hold up was. Tooling for the tub was completed in early December, but then it sat for nearly a month before the laminate schedules for the outer skin were approved.
“Now Anderson himself wasn’t designing the laminate schedule, but he was in the wings… as early as last October the production manager was collared about the lack of resources, but the managers were put off by saying: ‘Well, Ken has a plan’.
“The irony of all this is that there has been precious little in the way of formal planning and documentation. No production schedules, simply very little in the way of planning.”
Anderson and Windsor announced their intention of setting up USF1 on Speed TV back in February of 2009. That is just over a year ago. What has they been doing since? They attracted Mr. Hurley and surely there must have been other US based companies willing to invest in the team. This writer believes it was the decision NOT to give any drives to US drivers. (More on that later in the week.) Lotus F1 were only granted entry in October last year and were testing their new car last week, so clearly time was not an issue.
The insider also gave a picture to a side of the story that has been less documented in the media. The story of the employees at the USF1 factory.
” Our January 15 pay cheque was late. It was paid by the 20th or so, but it certainly caused commotion and people started asking questions. “That’s when all the company’s issues came to a head, and the conclusion was… yes, we had been lied to about the long-term budget, and indeed the company had a cash flow issue. But as mentioned, that really was a secondary issue.
“Think of it this way, ignoring the fact that we were lied to about the budget, if you don’t have a car or can’t show serious progress in that direction, potential sponsors aren’t going to have a tendency to give you money. At the moment there are still 60 people working in Charlotte, but 10 have already left.”
It’s an interesting read, given the fact that all of the stories hitting the headlines about the people most affected by this being Argentinian driver Jose Maria Lopez and the reputations of Anderson and Windsor. But many people have forgot about the regular employees of the team, working back as base who, by all appearances from this article, are very jacked off about being lied to regarding the finer details of the teams finances and progress. Given the fact they all admitted they felt the team would not make Bahrain, the insider does not reveal that they have given up hope of the team surviving. In the world’s recession hit state, they have no other option but the keep working as hard as they can or they loose their jobs.
If this is the case and 60+ people are made redundant due to the incompetence of Anderson and Windsor, this blog writer will put what little money he has on the fact that both men will walk away from this shambles and carry on their lives as normal. But for the ordinary working men and women at the USF1 factory, they’ll be at the unemployment office (or it’s US equivalent) claiming their benefits cheques while re-mortgaging their houses just to pay for their children’s school lunch.