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Page last updated at 16:28 GMT, Saturday, 20 February 2010

USF1 in talks with FIA to miss four grand prix races

Jose Maria Lopez
USF1 driver Jose Maria Lopez joined the team in January

New Formula 1 team USF1 is struggling financially and has asked the sport's governing body the FIA if they can miss four grand prix races.

The collapse of a number of sponsorship deals has prompted USF1 to ask to begin the inaugural season in May.

Missing races is against FIA rules but co-owner Ken Anderson said it would help get USF1 on the grid.

"If we get a decision quickly, it triggers funding and we're good to go," Anderson told the New York Times.

Speculation has been rife that the team had collapsed in the wake of the loss of a number of sponsorship deals in recent weeks.


Anderson said the North Carolina-based team was struggling and the best hope lay in negotiations with the FIA.

"We're working with the FIA to clarify how many races we can miss," he said. "In an ideal world, we can miss the first four races and show up in Barcelona [for the Spanish Grand Prix on 9 May]."

USF1 is one of four new 2010 entrants but if the FIA grant its request, the team would sit out races in Bahrain, Australia, Malaysia and China.

The FIA recently confirmed that any team missing a race would be in breach of the Concorde Agreement - relating to the terms by which teams compete in the series - and would be penalised.

But Anderson believes it would not be in the FIA's interests to punish his team and hopes president Jean Todt will look on his request sympathetically.

"Why would they give us a franchise and just, the first time there's a bump in the road, yank it and put it out of business?" he said.

"That's definitely not the message I'm getting from them. They want to help us, not shut us down."

Anderson is hoping for a swift response from FIA.

"If it takes another week or two to make a decision, it keeps backing up," added Anderson.

USF1 announced the signing of Argentine driver Jose Maria Lopez in January but Anderson has stated he could yet leave.

It is understood Lopez has spoken with Campos Meta 1, who confirmed on Friday they are hopeful of making the grid in Bahrain after an internal takeover.

Campos have Bruno Senna, the nephew of late three-time world champion Ayrton, on their books.

Campos edged closer to lining up on the grid for the opening race of 2010 on 14 March in Bahrain after a buyout which resulted in Colin Kolles named as team boss.

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see also
US team plans to enter F1 in 2010
25 Feb 09 |  Formula 1
Campos buyout improves 2010 hopes
19 Feb 10 |  Formula 1
Jose Maria Lopez
26 Jan 10 |  Drivers & Teams
Carroll linked with Campos drive
29 Jan 10 |  Formula 1
We will be on the grid - Campos
12 Jan 10 |  Formula 1
Teams unite in cost-cutting plan
08 Jan 09 |  Formula 1

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