A slight sign of life emerged from USF1 late on Thursday, after waves of reports suggested the new American outfit was set to fizzle before ever turning a wheel.
Amid reports that YouTube’s Chad Hurley and Argentine driver Jose Maria Lopez were jumping ship to Campos, the team’s official website also went off the air.
“The web server is down and is being repaired as this is written,” said USF1 on Friday night. “We are not gone, as many have reported.”
The Charlotte based team promised to provide more information “soon”.
Following reports that Lopez had been told by a tearful Peter Windsor that USF1 was on its last legs, it then emerged that his management team was busily making other arrangements for 2010 with a series of London meetings.
“We would like to inform that yesterday, Jose Maria Lopez Sr, together with (managers) Felipe McGough and Victor Rosso, visited USF1 headquarters in Charlotte to be in contact with the team’s directors,” read a statement.
Lopez’s entourage said they left the US “with a clear understanding of the team’s current situation” en route to London.
“Arrangements were (then) made to have different meetings; one of them with the managers of the FOM (Formula One Management) whose president is Bernie Ecclestone. The result of the meeting has been positive,” said the Lopez statement.
Representatives of the Argentine government then made clear to the Clarin newspaper that they have not yet made any payments to USF1.
Moreover, in a Europa Press report, the manager of the Motorland Aragon facility – USF1’s European base – said he did not know if USF1 was continuing with its plans.
And former grand prix driver Jos Verstappen wrote in his Telegraaf column: “If they (USF1) get to Bahrain with two cars, they are so far behind that the world should expect nothing of them.”