US F1 co-founder Ken Anderson has admitted that he is in discussions with the FIA to reach an agreement that will allow for the new team to miss the first four races of the 2010 Formula 1 season.
While rival Campos now looks likely to make the start of the season after Jose Ramon Carabante took control of the project and installed Colin Kolles as team boss, speculation that US F1 has fallen behind in preparations and is struggling to secure the necessary funding has intensified in recent weeks.
In an interview with the New York Times yesterday, Anderson revealed that US F1 was unlikely to make it to Bahrain on March 14, and was seeking to miss the Australian, Malaysian and Chinese Grands Prix as well.
"We're working with the FIA to clarify how many races we can miss," Anderson told the newspaper. "In an ideal world, we can miss the first four races and show up in Barcelona."
Despite recent revelations that the Concorde Agreement includes a clause allowing teams to miss up to three races before officially being deemed to have failed to participate, the FIA made it clear earlier this month that new teams would breach the regulations if they missed any event. Anderson indicated, however, that he believed the governing body was sympathetic to USF1's predicament and wanted to assist him in ensuring it made the grid.
"I guess anything's possible," he said when asked about incurring fines for missing races. "But what would be the point of that? Why would they give us a franchise and just, the first time there's a bump in the road, yank it and put it out of business? That's definitely not the message that I'm getting from them. They want to help us, not shut us down."
Anderson insisted that both co-founder Peter Windsor and investor Chad Hurley, who co-founded YouTube, are still involved with the project. Windsor told AUTOSPORT earlier this week: "I am still with the team," while Anderson later responded with: "Peter is still here at the moment, not sure what he is up to, stay tuned."
However, Anderson later revealed to the NYT that the project's progress was dependent on sponsorship falling into place soon: "We have a timeline in place that if we get a decision quickly, that triggers funding and we're good to go. If it takes another week or two to make a decision, it keeps backing up," he added.