Despite assurances yesterday from A1 Grand Prix and Surfers Paradise SuperGP event general manager Greg Hooton that 19 cars are set to contest the series' scheduled debut on Australia's Gold Coast, doubts continue to cloud the October 25 event. Newspaper reports emerged on Thursday that A1GP teams had been delayed in London due to urgent safety modifications required on the cars – although speculation was rife that the A1GP cars were being held as security for unpaid debts of up to $1.9 million from last season, and that Ferrari had withheld engines for 2009-10.
Acting Queensland Premier Paul Lucas declared that there was a potential for legal action if the A1GP machines, which have replaced Indy cars on Surfers' traditional twin-bill of open-wheel and touring cars, fail to arrive as scheduled.
Lucas said the weekend event, a fixture on the Gold Coast since it began as a CART Indy car race in 1991, would go ahead with or without the A1GP category, but warned that there would be serious repercussions if the open-wheel portion of the event had to be canceled.
"We expect the A1GP to be there. If not, we will take the appropriate steps, but we expect them to be there," he told Yahoo Sport Australia. "We are nice people...but when it comes to protecting regional Queensland and protecting the Gold Coast, we have teeth."
Organizers did a deal with A1 Grand Prix after failing to reach terms on a new deal with the IndyCar Series, which ran a non-championship on the seaside city's streets last year after taking over the event following the Champ Car/IRL merger. Yet rumors about the future of the series gathered strength after A1 Grand Prix Operation, which is responsible for the series' day-to-day operations, declared bankruptcy in June. Last month, series boss Tony Teixeira said a the new funding deal was in place that would resolve all A1GP's financial concern.
Surfers event manager Greg Hooton said that the cars could arrive as late as next Wednesday and still take part in all the weekend's scheduled events.