For the last couple of days, whispers of USF1’s imminent demise have become full blown chatter as stories of rumours of the team’s primary backer, Chad Hurley (of You Tube), has walked away from the project. Also thought to have left is USF1’s Business and Development Executive, Brian Bonner.
After so much speculation in recent weeks, this may indeed be the final nail in the coffin for the fledgling team – and shocking that they may not even make their shakedown test, let alone their first Grand Prix. It really is a situation only comparable to the dreadful Mastercard Lola effort of 1997, that left Formula 1 after only one qualifying session.
We must remember of course, that this has yet to be confirmed, but with so many pointers in the wrong direction, it’s hard to see how they can pull this out of the bag. For a long time, I was optimistic; however even that has now been washed away. In amongst all the clatter of unpaid staff, unpaid bills and suppliers, there are suspicions that the car itself may not even be finished and that a bare tub and nose cone currently sit in the factory. There has been no crash testing, no spares and now apparently no team. My thoughts go out to the mechanics and other personnel who have lost or are about to lose their jobs and to Jose-Maria Lopez, who has now lost his début drive. Like Vincenzo Sospiri in 1997 with Lola, his chance may never come around again.
This may go down in the history of motorsport as one of the most horribly mismanaged teams to ever think of getting into the sport, because it sure as hell looks as if they may not compete and may have added even greater damage to Formula 1’s profile in the United States.