It’s been looking likely for a while now but today it’s been confirmed: USF1 will not compete this season. Having suffered various financial blows the team has given up hope of producing a car for 2010, and put their workers on unpaid leave. As we understand it, being on unpaid leave is a little like being unemployed.
So, with a spare space on the grid this is surely the chance Serbian F1 dreamers Stefan GP have been waiting for, right? After all, they’ve got a car ready to race, a team ready to run it and at least one driver prepared to drive it.
But sadly for Stefan- and in fact all of us, considering what great entertainment they’ve been this winter- they wont race in 2010 either. The FIA has published its entry list for the new season, and it consists of 24 cars, with no chance for late entries. They’ve also made a statement regarding USF1’s withdrawal and (without mentioning their name) Stefan’s desire to replace them:
“The US team have indicated that they will not be in a position to participate in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship. Having considered the various options, the FIA confirms that it is not possible for a replacement team to be entered for the championship at this late stage.
“In the coming days the FIA will announce details of a new selection process to identify candidates to fill any vacancies existing at the start of the 2011 season.”
So the FIA will start a new selection process for an extra team to join F1 in 2011. Stefan and USF1 will both be able to bid for this, though the American’s failure to get the job done this winter suggests they wont be the best looked upon candidates.
This then seems to spell the end of Stefan GP’s F1 dreams, at least for the coming season. It also ends 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve’s hopes of returning to F1 in 2010- the Canadian had been close to signing with Stefan, but was waiting for confirmation that they’d actually be racing this year. The team is yet to react to the news, but Badger will keep you up to date with whatever they have to say. One things for sure: Stefan aren’t going to let this one go without a very noisy fight.
Do you think Stefan should have got the spare space for 2010, or are the FIA right to re-open the selection process and wait until 2011 to add a new team? Let us know what you think.