Posted by Carrot on March 3, 2010 | No Comments
Yesterday, even as I was writing the post discussing what loss USF1 failing to turn up to the grid would be, news began to trickle out into the media. At approximately lunch time the remaining employees of USF1 were sent home and the factory closed. Ken Anderson has since confirmed to the press his team’s application to the FIA for the entry of USF1 to be deferred until 2011.
I hereby pronounce USF1 dead. Date of death being 2nd March 2010 after a long and debilitating illness.
However, even dead, Anderson and Windsor’s effect on the sport is not over. Although their factory is closed and they freely admit that they will not be able to participate in Bahrain, they have yet to relinquish their entry slot to the 2010 grid. The number of entries to the grid is fixed, so until they give up their entry or the FIA moves to take it from them, no replacement may line up on the grid in a week and a half. Stefan GP is still in the same situation is was last week, unable to acquire tyres to test and unable to race. Given the very public fiasco that this has turned into the FIA need to move proactively and decisively and revoke USF1′s entry to the Championship permanently. Todt’s administration at the FIA now faces its first public drama regarding F1 and needs to instil confidence in the public.
The question then is what to do with that entry. There are three potential paths they can take. The first is to not accept bids on the slot and offer it at some point in the future for 2011. The second is to hold an immediate process to award the free slot to a another team for 2010 and beyond, a process that only Stefan GP could realistically win with less than 9 days until first practice in Bahrain. The third and final option is to award the slot to Stefan for the 2010 season alone and hold an open tender process for the slot for the 2011 season onwards.
Whatever they do, it needs to be done soon. If Stefan are allowed on the grid then there is still much they can do before the opening race. Even the practise of basic procedures such as pit stops and basic straight line car shakedowns will allow obvious problems time to be fixed, and from a safety standpoint this is an extremely important benefit.
I close in mentioning the workers of USF1, for whom we have the greatest sympathy. These are professionals who moved to an exciting new challenge and were undermined by the actions of irresponsible leadership. The fact that they are now stuck in limbo, they were placed on unpaid leave, and depending on their contracts may be unable to seek new employment in Formula 1 for a set period of time. Stefan GP have the eyes of the world looking at them and powerful players doing everything to help them and people who did nothing wrong may be abandoned and forgotten due to the actions of a minority in their hierarchy.