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Time running out for US F1

ESPNF1 Staff
February 17, 2010 « Mercedes denies Fry quit rumours | »

Further doubt has been cast over the future of US F1 after a key member of its management is believed to have left the squad.

It is reported Brian Bonner, the head of business development, is no longer working with US F1, amid further rumours that other staff are growing impatient about not being paid. There is also speculation that YouTube founder Chad Hurley has pulled the plug on his backing of the outfit, with some reports suggesting he is in talks with rivals Campos and F1 hopefuls Stefan GP about joining forces.

On Tuesday it emerged that US F1's base, in which it is a tenant until 2014, is up for sale for US$3 million. However, in a statement the team denied there was any cause for concern. "US F1 has a long term lease on the building so there are no worries there," a spokesman said. "It is absolutely US F1's intention to compete this season."

But time is running short as, with just under a month until the first race of the season, it has yet to announce a second driver to partner Jose Maria Lopez and has not set a firm date to launch its car. Meanwhile 11 of its competitors are testing in Jerez this week and Stefan GP, which has its own testing schedule planned, is ready to step in should a place on the grid become available.

Speaking to ESPNF1 Lotus technical chief Mike Gascoyne said it was incomprehensible how a Formula One team could be a serious prospect for this season without having a firm launch schedule.

"It was quite funny for us to hear some of the new teams saying they didn't know when they would fire up," Gascoyne said. "We knew from the day we submitted the entry when we could be ready. If you are a proper outfit, with a proper design and production schedule, you know exactly when you have to do these things."