This evening Autosport are reporting that USF1 have closed down its operation and will therefore not be competing in this year’s world championship. The news comes after heightened speculation throughout the month of February, where the team admitted they were behind schedule on building a car and had hoped to miss the opening rounds of the season and join when the circus arrived in Barcelona for the fifth round. According to Autosport, the remaining staff at the Charlotte base were told this afternoon they were being laid off. Neither Ken Anderson or Peter Windsor were present at the time.
Although USF1 are yet to officially announce the news, it doesn’t come as too much of a surprise that the operation would close. Recently, FIA delegate Charlie Whiting paid the team a visit to assess their viability of competing this year. While it isn’t known what Whiting saw or reported back to the FIA, it seems the news wasn’t good.
Jose Maria Lopez, who signed to the US-based team earlier in the year, was today reported to be courting Campos Meta as a test and reserve driver (Karun Chandhok is expected to be announced as Bruno Senna’s team mate this week), although it should also be noted that a car is still forthcoming from this team as well. Although a name-change is on the cards following the buyout from Spaniard Jose Ramon Carabante, and the appointment of Colin Kolles should ensure the squad make it to Bahrain with something.
Chad Hurley, co-founder of YouTube and investor in USF1 will now have to weigh up his options, the American being speculated as possibly transferring his investment to either Campos or Stefan Grand Prix. Zoran Stefanovic will undoubtedly up his calls for his team to be present in Bahrain and allowed to race, the Serbian businessman having been seen to be desperate to get on the grid. Stefanovic, it would seem, is further along than USF1 ever were, the team firing up the new S-01 last week.