Sponsors and Drivers Flee Sinking Car…

Lopez with "Chairwoman Kirchner"

Reports are circulating that Argentinian driver Jose Maria Lopez and Youtube founder Chad Hurley are in talks with new Campos Meta owner Jose Ramon Carabante in the hope that a deal can been done to save Lopez’s 2010 drive.

Felipe McGough, Lopez’s manager, told Argentina’s Diario Hoy, “The two groups that talked today will do everything possible so that ‘Pechito’ [Lopez] can be in Formula 1. Both Chad Hurley and Jose Carabante talked for several hours to find a solution for the budget issues both teams have. For us this merger is very important as it works in favour of Lopez racing this year.

We have been doing everything possible and we haven’t taken any false steps. The financial difficulties, and the trust we had put after the recognition from the FIA have made things complicated and we must accept that [US F1’s] cars will not be ready for Bahrain. Right now things are in the hands of the two investing groups. They have the final word. We have hopeful we will reach a resolution to come back to Argentina with good news about Lopez.”

This is interesting as I mentioned earlier, given the fact the USF1 insider who spoke to Autosport last night said that all hopes for the beleaguered US team lay within the hands of Chad Hurley.

Another interesting point to this is that Hurley and Lopez are coming at Carabante together as a package and not separately. Is Chad Hurley a fan of Lopez or has he been significantly impressed by Lopez’s attitude over the whole USF1 debacle that he is willing to back Lopez, even as a newcomer?

Or, is Chad Hurley acting on behalf of the USF1 team and trying to merge the remnants of Campos Meta and USF1, in the hope that all the pieces can add up and make a decent enough showing? Given that Bahrain under 2 weeks away, this smells of sheer desperation.

Also announced today, USF1 sponsor Locstein have withdrawn their support for the crumbling team. A statement read, “As a matter of course, Locstein evaluates a variety of business opportunities around the globe, including sponsorship in Formula One racing.

“Locstein did engage US F1 Team regarding sponsorship, but when it was apparent that the team was not able to participate in the entire 2010 season, Locstein elected to withdraw from further involvement with US F1. Locstein wishes the US F1 organization the best of luck in their endeavours.”

How many more sponsors there are hidden in the woodwork waiting to bail out remain to be seen, but this is the first public announcement from a company itself that it has withdrawn it’s support from USF1. (The Hurley story coming for Lopez’s manager)

I doubt just the best of luck is needed. A divine intervention is …”putting it very mildly indeed.” Thanks Murray.

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