Stefan poised to take USF1's team entry - No UPDATE #3 Formula 1 governing body the FIA has confirmed that the US F1 team will not compete in the upcoming 2010 World Championship and that, furthermore, no team will be selected to replace the American outfit, meaning Stefan Grand Prix's only opportunity now is to be selected for the 2011 season. With the Charlotte-based US having requested to skip the 2010 season but the sporting regulations not supporting any such demand, the FIA was presented with no option on Wednesday but to release a full entry list containing one less team than originally planned for the imminent campaign.
As a result of the US F1 demise, Sauber - whose entry was accepted after the initial selection - takes the car numbers of the departed team as Virgin Racing complete the 24-car grid with numbers 24 and 25, with no car 13 due to tradition.
An FIA statement reads as follows:
'The USF1 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.'
02/28/10 Stefanovic has also revealed that he had discussed a merger with US F1 - which has a 2010 entry but has asked to miss the first four races as its program is a long way behind schedule. He said these talks had now collapsed despite positive approaches from US F1 investor Chad Hurley.
"Yes, it is true we had some discussions stretching over many days, but these broke down completely on Thursday afternoon European time due to the inflexibility of certain players," Stefanovic said.
"I stress it was not Chad Hurley, who was open to discussions with us, but some of the other stakeholders who sabotaged the talks." AutoWeek02/27/10 U.S. F1 shareholder Chad Hurley and Stefan GP boss Zoran Stefanovich are trying to put together a deal that would see their Formula One teams join forces and make it to the first race in Bahrain, sources have confirmed.
The logical scenario of a team with no car linking up with a team with no entry finally appears likely to unfold. Hurley has given up on pursuing a deal with Colin Kolles and Campos to pursue the Stefan talks.
The FIA will, in theory, have no problem in allowing Stefan onto the Bahrain grid if such a deal takes place before the start of the season. It would also support a name change, although other F1 stakeholders would also have to agree.
Life would be much easier for the FIA and its new president, Jean Todt, if a merger does go ahead. The alternative scenario--the cancelling of the U.S. F1 entry and a new bid process--would be far more complicated legally.
Meanwhile, Jacques Villeneuve is on standby and would be willing to sign up as teammate to Kazuki Nakajima, should the team get an entry.
However, AutoWeek understands that U.S. F1 founders Ken Anderson and Peter Windsor are not amenable to such a deal and still wish to pursue their dream of fielding an American car. However, since Hurley owns a significant stake in the team--and has more funds to put in--he presumably is in the driver's seat, and that may ultimately enable him to push the merger through. More at AutoWeek02/26/10 (GMM) According to the latest rumors in the unfolding commotion surrounding F1's new and hopeful teams, the FIA is on the verge of taking back USF1's official 2010 entry.
That would free up the thirteenth team slot for the new Serbian outfit Stefan GP, but it might not be as simple as that.
USF1, Campos and Virgin - and later Lotus - were granted their entries after a process of application and due diligence performed by F1's governing body.
With just two weeks until Friday practice begins in Bahrain, granting Stefan an entry for 2010 would have to be fast-tracked, which would not impress some of the teams initially turned down by the FIA.
But multiple sources are reporting that the newly Jean Todt-led FIA is indeed poised to give USF1's entry to the outfit led by the enthusiastic Zoran Stefanovic.
The Serbian reportedly has the help of his government and also Bernie Ecclestone, but another suggestion is that the failed USF1 will be urged to amalgamate with Stefan, clearing the path for a full 26-car grid in that way.
Jacques Villeneuve has cooled Stefanovic's claims that the 1997 world champion is mere days from signing to become Kazuki Nakajima's teammate.
"(Stefan GP) does not have an entry," the French Canadian told France's Auto Hebdo, "but everything seems serious about the team.
"The important thing is for them to get the green light from the FIA for the first race of the season," Villeneuve added.
Mark Webber said the drama unfolding behind the scenes in F1 is not impressive. "I find the situation totally crazy, but that's what happened," the Red Bull driver commented.