The end of the US F1 dream as we await the definitive 2010 F1 entry list

Ken Anderson signs the Concorde Agreement in July...

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.

13 Comments

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13 responses to “The end of the US F1 dream as we await the definitive 2010 F1 entry list

  1. Floyd

    Sad day for F1.
    Best of luck to the unfortunate employees who gave up their previous jobs to work on the USF1 project.

  2. F1 Kitteh

    Hopefully a new investor will now step in and scoop up the hard assets, IP and the staff. At least the principals could have shown some class to make the announcement in person, the staff deserved that much at least.

    BTW any word on the toaster?

  3. Black Knight

    Assets ? 5 computer monitors – (1) 5 axis machine tooled for toaster production – (1) Jim Clark print – (1) crushed nose cone – full stop.

    This was a farce from day one.

  4. Sad day for all concerned, but considering they were planning this way before the FIA opened the bidding process, they should have been in the best possible position of all the new teams.
    It just goes to show that with Lotus picking up CNN as a sponsor, that it was possible to get the finance if it had been handled properly.
    The saddest element of all is the damage this has done to F1 is America which has always had a hard time (even without the Indy tyre farce GP), and how Bernie is going to recover that one.
    But surely the question we all want to know is will the toaster ever enter production?!?!

  5. Old Racer

    I think that all was going well in December, as we have video evidence that the nosecone was tested, and a tub produced. We have video also of the wiring being fitted to the tub.

    The reports are that the car was supposed to be assembled in late December into mid-January. The suspension pieces had been designed and were being manufactured when, at a meeting to sign off on the suspension, KA said ‘don’t make it complicated’ – which was interpreted as ‘go back and do it again’. This stopped work on the car.

    If the reports are correct, no drivetrain components were ever received either, so there was no progress at all after that meeting in January. Apparently, the designers waited for KA to instruct them in how to redesign the suspension componentry, and he was not there. According to a report, Ken said that he had to go out and try to raise sponsor money, and thought that the efforts were going to continue. He’s said that he never said ‘stop work on the suspension and redesign it’ or that his comments should have been interpreted that way….

    If all of this is true or even partially true, then the blame for failure is on KA’s shoulders. A slip of the tongue? Perhaps. But bad management throughout.

    And I thought we’d have a chance to field a US based team! Unless Roger Penske goes crazy and decides to take over USF1, we won’t see this again.

    • Stag Corner

      When there was talk of a “white knight” being in play to take over a few weeks back, my thoughts turned to Penske. I’d argue Penske Racing would have been the only organisation in the states (and within Charlotte) to have rescued a USF1 entry at short notice. When you couple that with their existing factory in Poole, England (is it still in opperation Adam?) you’d have a serious effort rather than the half cocked job seen thus far. Was there actually any talk of this or was this all in my head?!?

  6. goofy

    it’s official – F1 is an exercise in fundraising and engineering and strategy. combine that with the principles of a ball sport – only x # teams, you have to run all the races, blah blah. so those who have the most $ can buy the best engineers and they win. and USF1 failed at the former so they could not complete the engineering and the car. and why can’t the best cars that meet the rules show up and race? why does it have to be all x races? and it is a shame for the guys who poured their blood, sweat and tears in to the car only to have some scraps of carbon and a picture of a car to be. Put some NASCAR sponsorship together to complete the USF1 Car and run some demo laps in Canada and Brazil to raise more $ for 2011. Sell USF1 shirts to raise money too. Put JPM in the car one week, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, & even shoe horn Stewart in there another…might be fun and you might just get it done…probably not but just maybe…

  7. Greig

    It is a sad day, especially for those employees who were taken in by Windsor and Anderson. A pair of egomanaics by all things considered. When it boils down to it they obviously were out of their depth. They have completely mis-managed the whole situation and if USF1 has the gall to apply again this year (if that is the outcome) they should be told where to go. You can’t blame Chad Hurley for not being keen on investing in F1 now. An opportunity wasted there what with the unrivalled market YouTube has…

    I for one do not want to see Stefan GP on the grid though. Mr Stefanovich has a hint of the fly-by-night about him. Although what I will say is that he was wise to purchase the 2011 Toyota car and engine. Perhaps a route USF1 should have taken if they weren’t going to get this years model ready. But SGP and its (almost) bullying attempts to get into the Formula 1 roadshow are not impressing me. Open the application process up again and let them compete with other interested parties. Let’s just hope that if the FIA take this route they apply the strictest due diligence to the winning applicant!

  8. Benny Wong

    It’s interesting to see how USF1 or even Campos / Manor could beat the likes of Lola / Prodrive or even Epsilon Euskadi for entering F1 in 2010.

    At that time it seemed all 3 teams were without solid financial background compared to Lola / Prodrive.
    Luckily Monor secured the funds from Richard Branson. But as we can see now 2 out of 3 new teams had serious financial trouble.

    They’re only chosen because of using the Cosworth Engine?

  9. @ Greig
    Stefanovic was indeed smart to take over the Toyota car and engine. Weird, though, that no other new entrant chose to go down that route. US F1 Team could’ve easily done so… if the money was there, of course.

  10. Erich

    A sad outcome. I have followed F1 for many years, staying up late, and getting up early to watch F1 around the world as many US F1 fans have. After the multiple scandals and especially Crashgate, I had given up as a fan.

    Then came USF1. I was reinvigorated as a fan. And now…

    I will not watch or follow F1 anymore. I am sick of it all.

    My heart goes out to the employees who are left out to dry at the start of a season.

    Good bye Formula One, from now on I’ll watch re-runs of the 60′s and 70′s races-much better racing IMO.

    The whole sport needs to be rebuilt from the ground up.

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