The staff of US F1 were told today to pack up and go home as reality finally hit in Charlotte. There has been no official confirmation – then very little has come out of the team in months – but the dream of Ken Anderson and Peter Windsor is finally over.
A desperate attempt by Anderson and Chad Hurley to salvage the project by asking the FIA for permission to postpone for a year, and showing faith by providing a $5m bond, has not worked.
It’s been said for some days that Windsor is out of the picture, but even Anderson was not around to give the bad news to the guys on the shop floor. One source says that they have been told that it may yet be temporary, which suggests that there may be some hope for a revival for 2011.
However the signs are that the shut down was prompted by a negative response from the FIA to the request for a year’s grace – and that if there is any tiny glimmer of a future for US F1, it’s merely that the team would be able to re-apply along with anyone else if there is still a free slot in 2011. And logic suggests that US F1 won’t get a second chance if there are other credible bidders.
We now await news from the FIA about what happens next. It seems likely that there will be two documents from the governing body within the next day or so – a definitive 2010 entry list, along with a separate statement that either explains why Stefan GP is on it, or confirms that there will be an open spot in 2011 and that an entry bid process will be launched.
It still seems likely that the latter course will be chosen. It if is then it will to some degree showcase Jean Todt flexing the FIA’s muscles in the face of strong pressure from Bernie Ecclestone to let Stefan in.
A source in Cologne told me tonight that it was now ‘almost impossible’ for the team to make it to Bahrain, so a positive decision is going to have to come very soon.
The entry list will also confirm the new name of Campos Meta – and some sources suggest that Hispania Racing might not be the final choice – and will finally show the name of the BMW Sauber team for the first time.
Meanwhile a source close to Chad Hurley says that the Silicon Valley entrepreneur sounded yesterday like he had had enough of trying to get involved in F1, and that the chances of him investing elsewhere were slim.
It really has been an extraordinary saga, but the bottom line is that Anderson and Windsor were able to beat several other serious projects to getting an F1 entry. They must have had an impressive pitch when they made their bid last May/June. But as many had long suspected, there was clearly very little real substance to it.