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US F1 staff member reveals team's problems

ESPNF1 Staff
February 24, 2010 « Qantas named as Australian GP sponsor | »
The future of US F1 is in doubt © Sutton Images

The severity of US F1's problems has become slightly clearer after an anonymous source revealed details of the outfit's inner workings to Autosport.com.

The "senior staff" member said he and many of his colleagues had been employed at the team on the understanding it had funding in place for three years. It is well known that US F1's chassis development is behind schedule, and last week team principal Ken Anderson asked the FIA about the possibility of skipping the first four races of the season.

"There has been precious little in the way of formal planning and documentation," the source said. "No production schedules, simply very little in the way of planning. Our January 15 pay cheque was late. It was paid by the 20th or so, but it certainly caused commotion and people started asking questions. That's when all the company's issues came to a head, and the conclusion was ... yes, we had been lied to about the long-term budget, and indeed the company had a cash-flow issue. But as mentioned, that really was a secondary issue.

"Think of it this way. If you don't have a car or can't show serious progress in that direction, potential sponsors aren't going to have a tendency to give you money. At the moment there are still 60 people working in Charlotte, but 10 have already left."

Anderson insisted his staff had not been employed under false pretences. "The story that the employee tells is certainly twisted and one-sided," he told the website. "There are also contradictions. Everybody that signed up here knew exactly what they were getting into, i.e. to have two cars on the track in Bahrain."

To add to the problems, there has been ongoing speculation that US F1 backer Chad Hurley is looking to throw his support behind Campos instead. Some reports suggest he is looking to forge a link-up deal between the two teams involving driver Jose Maria Lopez, after it emerged Lopez's management had been in talks with Campos and Hurley.