Boss Peter Windsor and driver Jose Maria Lopez face an uncertain future
US F1 have applied to world motorsport's governing body, the FIA, to defer their entry into the Formula 1 world championship for 12 months.
The team, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, is among four newcomers entered for the 2010 season.
Team principal Ken Anderson told BBC Sport: "If the FIA say no (to the deferral) we are done. If they say yes we can put it back in gear and go."
The FIA said on Wednesday US F1 would have to reapply for entry in 2011.
Anderson confirmed that FIA technical chief Charlie Whiting visited the team's headquarters last week to inspect the team's state of readiness.
The doom-and-gloom people were just waiting for us to fail
"He looked at the factory and was happy that we've got all we need to make a perfectly good Formula 1 car," said Anderson. "We're on hold. Our future's in the hands of the FIA.
"There were issues sponsor-wise in January that knocked us back a few weeks, and those meant we couldn't make it in 2010.
"We put our entry in with the FIA in December 2008 and wanted to start work on the car in March 2009, but the delay in signing the Concorde Agreement (the document by which F1 is governed) until July meant we couldn't start until August. We were on course, despite an insanely tight schedule, but then people got cold feet."
Anderson said there was "a sprinkle of truth" in reports that US F1 had investigated "partnering up with another new team."
He added that a deferral would allow the team to rebuild and, depending on the testing regulations, get track time in preparation for an entry in 2011.
"The doom-and-gloom people were just waiting for us to fail," he added. "But no one said it was easy, and we went out on a limb to design and build our own car.
Lotus and Virgin, who have already been testing, and Hispania - formerly known as Campos - are the other new teams for 2010 and all hope to be on the grid for the opening race.
If US F1 pull out, it could create an opening for the newly-established Serbian-backed Stefan Grand Prix team, which has been lobbying to take their place on the grid.
"My understanding is that they (Stefan) will be in Bahrain with ex-champion Jacques Villeneuve driving," said BBC pundit and former team boss Eddie Jordan.
Stefan, who plan to use last year's Toyota F1 cars, released a statement on Sunday, saying: "SGP would like to re-confirm its desire and, importantly, its ability to compete in the whole of the FIA 2010 Formula 1 World Championship.
"It recognises that this can only happen with the consent of the FIA and the FOM, but has faith that the Formula 1 'family' will make the correct decision in the end.
"There will be no more press releases on this subject and we look forward to being allowed to show everyone our team in Bahrain."
Former Williams driver Kazuki Nakajima, who has been a Toyota protege since the start of his racing career, is tipped for the other Stefan GP seat.