Last night, Speed TV’s Bob Vasha – a known supporter of USF1 and colleague of Peter Windsor (no journalistic bias there then…) reported that the Charlotte based team have asked for their Formula One entry be deferred for one year, effectively saying they are giving up hope of making the 2010 grid.
Vasha reports, “Team principals Ken Anderson and Chad Hurley have offered to post a “substantial, seven-figure” surety bond as proof of their intentions to race next year.” It’s interesting that Chad Hurley now has gone back to the team after breakdowns in negotiations for merger with Stefan GP and Campos Meta. Vasha states “Contrary to media speculation elsewhere, Hurley is still very much involved in the USF1 effort.” While this statement is true and he has been working for USF1’s best interests, as I said earlier, Hurley must have lost all confidence on USF1 going it alone.
While this step of asking to delay it’s F1 entry until 2011 is the most logical one the team can take, the fact is that USF1 was given it’s entry for the 2010 grid. Manor/Virgin were given their grid slot at the same time as USF1 and Lotus F1had half the time to prepare and run a car. Both teams have succeeded and have been testing their new cars for the last two weeks ready for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
If USF1 are granted a delay, then Stefan GP will be very angry at this situation. As you can see from this picture from Adam Cooper’s excellent blog, Stefan GP are well on their way to making the Bahrain grid in less that 2 weeks time, with Nakajima already having a seat fitted and Jacques Villeneuve doing the same at the time of writing. If Stefan GP is left on the sidelines and the F1 grid two cars down, then you can expect some very fiery words coming for the Serbian Teams’ mouth. (And you can bet their English will be perfect this time around!)
Vasha also states that Campos Meta will not be making the Bahrain grid, however ESPN reports that the Dallara chassis will soon be linked up with it’s Cosworth engine. “The new Campos team, now being run by ex-Force India boss Colin Kolles, appears to be making progress despite doubts over its ability to get two cars ready in little over two weeks. The Dallara factory, where its chassis are being built, has now taken delivery of its first batch of Cosworth engines and Kolles remains adamant his team will be ready.”
This is backed up from Adam Cooper, who spoke to Colin Kolles yesterday, and he is very confident of making the Bahrain gird. “The Dallaras are due to be loaded onto a plane next Sunday, and until that fails to happen Colin Kolles – who confirmed to me once again yesterday that he will be there – has to be given the benefit of the doubt. Kolles also says that the Cosworth engines would be fired up before the end of the week and we would know the driver line-up in a few days.”
For the new team owners, it would appear that money is better than talent, with the confirmation of Karun Chandhok in line for one seat, there appears to be an battle for the second seat between Bruno Senna and Jose Maria Lopez. Senna has already signed a contract to drive the Dallara chassis in 2010, but with the new owners taking over, this has left Senna in doubt of his place. With Senna reportedly bringing no sponsorship money to the team, Lopez’s cheque to the tune of $8million will sway the financially restricted team.
As I have previously written, it would be a tragedy if Bruno Senna were to loose his race seat for the second year running. Last year it was due to Ross Brawn and Nick Fry wanting stability in their new team. This year, it could be through a lack of money. And we all know that money is more important than talent in modern day Formula One.