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USF1 had really signed TWO drivers, information suggest

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The continuing saga that is USF1 has in use yet one more turn today (Monday), with the exposure that the financially-beleaguered, repeatedly-maligned American outfit had in real fact signed not just one but indeed two well-heeled drivers for what was due to be its F1 debut in 2010. It is fairly common knowledge that José María López is currently trying desperately to secure a seat at either Campos Meta 1 or else Serbian hopeful Stefan GP – and ostensibly getting little joy from either – after his dream of making his grand prix debut this year with USF1 crumbled when team co-founder Peter Windsor allegedly told the Argentine that the North Carolina-based operation was not going to be able to make the start of the season, and indeed may not make the season at all.

Having asked governing body the FIA to be permitted to miss the opening four grands prix of the imminent movement in order to give it time to get its Cosworth-powered cars ready, it has now emerged that USF1 has requested to be allowed to skip the season altogether and defer its entry until. Either way, the former Renault F1 test driver appears to be out of there, but it now appears that the Windsor and Ken Anderson-led concern already had one driver on its books even before López was announced in late January. According to authoritative American website SPEED TV, prior to the end of last year USF1 had also concluded terms with ex-Honda F1 test driver James Rossiter, who was frequently linked in relation to the team but never officially confirmed. Both men were understood to have agreed to bring $8 million in sponsorship along with them.

Backers, but, are said to have got cold feet over the worrying lack of assurances from team bosses that all was happening on-track and that the requisite funding was in-place – and early last month, Rossiter backed out of the deal, and has since been snapped up by KV Racing Technology to compete alongside Takuma Sato and E.J. Viso in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series. SPEED TV reports that López’s deal fell apart in similar circumstances just days later. The latest news certainly casts some doubt upon whether the FIA will see fit to grant USF1 its sought deferral, or else simply pull the plug on a team that – having secured some $16 million in sponsorship from its two drivers and still not been able to make the grade – many argue has been deeply-flawed and poorly-managed right from the outset.

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