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US F1 team on verge of collapse

By Andrew Benson

US F1 team boss Peter Windsor and driver Jose Maria Lopez
US F1 team boss Windsor, here with driver Lopez, faces an uncertain future

The new US F1 team will almost certainly not race this season as doubts increase about their future.

They will not make any of the first four races, are two months away from having a car and have insufficient funds, BBC Sport has learned.

US F1's main backer, YouTube founder Chad Hurley, is in discussions over a switch to rival new team Campos.

Colin Kolles, Campos's new team boss, refused to confirm the talks. US F1 boss Peter Windsor was unavailable.

US F1 could also lose their only signed driver, the Argentine Jose Maria Lopez, to Campos as a result of any deal between them and Hurley.

Brazilian novice Bruno Senna, the nephew of the late F1 legend Ayrton, has signed to race for Campos in 2010.

Kolles refused to confirm Senna's place, saying: "We will make an announcement on drivers very soon."

But Senna's manager Chris Goodwin told BBC Sport there was "no reason to think Bruno won't be part of the team".

BBC Sport has learned that the Indian GP2 front-runner Karun Chandhok is expected to be announced as Campos's second driver imminently.

Bruno Senna
Senna's future at Campos is uncertain following a change of management

With US F1's hopes of being on the grid now virtually non-existent, Lopez could be an appealing prospect for Campos as he brings with him a reputed $8m (£5.2m) in sponsorship, although he could also join as reserve driver.

It is clear, though, that reports about a merger between the two teams are wide of the mark as US F1 effectively has nothing to merge with.

In effect, the talks are about Hurley transferring his backing from one team to the other.

He had originally provided US F1 with the money team bosses Windsor and Ken Anderson required for getting the team up and running and to the first races of the season.

But it appears that the funding required was underestimated.

US F1 have already asked governing body the FIA for permission to miss the first four races of the season, and FIA race director Charlie Whiting was at the team's base in Charlotte, North Carolina on Wednesday to inspect the team's readiness.

But US F1 have no chance of attending the first few races even if the FIA does give them permission to miss them.

They have no race team - only a team manager and a single mechanic - and all the suppliers have been put on hold.

The team's employees have been paid up to the end of last month, but are waiting nervously to see whether their salaries will be paid on schedule on Friday.

Sources have told BBC Sport that hopefuls Stefan Grand Prix will almost certainly be given the slot vacated by US F1.

606: DEBATE
sergeant chadders

Stefan GP are a new team set up by Serbian businessman Zoran Stefanovich with backing from the country's government.

There will use the cars that were designed and built by the former Toyota team before the troubled Japanese manufacturer pulled out of F1 at the end of last season.

Former world champion Jacques Villeneuve is tipped to drive for Stefan GP, with ex-F1 driver Ralf Schumacher, brother of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, in line if a deal cannot be done with the Canadian.

Campos have had their own troubles, with co-founder Jose Ramon Carabante becoming the majority shareholder after buying out partner Adrian Campos.

But Kolles, who was appointed as part of the management shake-up, insisted the team would be on the grid at the opening race in Bahrain on 14 March.

"We are working flat out and will be in Bahrain," said the German, who ran the Force India team and its previous guises of Jordan, Midland Spyker from 2005 until 2009. "We'll complete the season and be in F1 long term.

"I know how to run a team that were struggling. We will be in Bahrain but it will be hard work."



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see also
Red Bull in best shape - Webber
25 Feb 10 |  Formula 1
Indian Chandhok set for Campos F1
25 Feb 10 |  Formula 1
F1 testing photos
28 Feb 10 |  Formula 1
Thursday's F1 gossip column
25 Feb 10 |  Formula 1
USF1 asks to start F1 season late
20 Feb 10 |  Formula 1
Campos buyout improves 2010 hopes
19 Feb 10 |  Formula 1


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FROM OTHER SPORT SITES
Race Tech Magazine Campos driver news 'soon', Senna not yet secure? - 13 hrs ago
Sporting Life CHANDHOK CLOSE TO CAMPOS DEAL - 15 hrs ago
ITV.com Chandhok 'close' to Campos agreement - 24 hrs ago
Autosport.com Chandhok set to secure Campos seat - 26 hrs ago
Telegraph Mark Webber's Red Bull burns up the competition during testing in Barcelona - 39 hrs ago


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