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A glimmer of hope from US F1

ESPNF1 Staff
February 19, 2010 « Massa frustrated by wet tests | »
Peter Windsor and driver Jose Maria Lopez (centre) have been in talks about the future of the team © USF1

US F1 made an encouraging public announcement via Twitter on Thursday night, amid rumours that it might be about to pull the plug on its F1 project.

After the team's website became inaccessible it posted: "The web server is down and is being repaired as this is written. We are not gone, as many have reported. More news soon"

It is the second reassurance the team has made that everything is OK since rumours started circulating that it was in financial trouble and its Charlotte base was up for sale. On Thursday an insider said that a sponsor's payment hadn't come through and it emerged the team had cancelled plans to crash test in England. There were also reports that its main backer, YouTube's Chad Hurley, was looking to take his money elsewhere and driver Jose Maria Lopez was also exploring other options.

A statement released by Lopez's management clarified the Argentine driver had been in talks with US F1 and Bernie Ecclestone over the last few days.

"We would like to inform that yesterday, Jose Maria Lopez Sr, together with [managers] Felipe McGough and Victor Rosso, visited USF1 headquarters in Charlotte to be in contact with the team's directors," read the statement.

It added that Lopez and his entourage then left the US "with a clear understanding of the team's current situation" en route to London.

"Arrangements were [then] made to have different meetings; one of them with the managers of the FOM [Formula One Management] whose president is Bernie Ecclestone. The result of the meeting has been positive."

Representatives of the Argentine government, one of Lopez's main backers, said it had not made any payments to the team as yet. US F1 now has just over three weeks to sort out its problems and fire up its car ahead of the season opener in Bahrain.