FIA Bans US F1
By Jonathan Ingram | Senior Writer
The World Motor Sport Council of the FIA has held the US F1 team responsible for its failure to make the grid for the Formula One season. The team has been banned from any future participation in FIA championships and has been fined $380,000.
The team, which recently auctioned its remaining physical assets to help pay off $1.4 million of an estimated $3.5 million in debt, will have to pay the FIA its entry fee for the world championship despite not participating and the cost of the disciplinary hearing. The hearing listed Ken Anderson as the Team Principal for US F1 and YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley as the owner. Team documents had originally listed Hurley as a “primary investor.”
Hurley and his primary agent in F1, Parris Mullins, have sought future participation as potential sponsors or investors in other teams. But it remains to be seen how the ruling by the WMSC may influence such developments.
“It was wholly unacceptable that the FIA,” said the official release, “was presented with only three weeks warning of the total non-appearance of the team at the Grand Prix in Bahrain and for the 2010 season, and WMSC members had real concerns about the impact on the championship, not least the deprivation of the opportunity for another team to have provided two cars to run in the championship in 2010 instead of US F1.”
US F1 principal Ken Anderson said the team’s failure resulted from “force majeure” due to the late signing of the Concorde agreement following debate about a cost cap. He also proposed that comments from Formula One Management’s Bernie Ecclestone hurt the team’s chances for sponsorship. But those arguments were regarded as insufficient by the WSMC, which held the team responsible for any funding difficulties. The ruling also cited the Concorde agreement, which specifically excludes financial difficulty as a ‘force majeure.’
In his application to join the Concorde and F1, Anderson cited $30 million as the amount the team expected to raise in additon to an initial investment of $20 million (the bulk of which presumably came from Hurley). But the ruling noted that the team had non-binding arrangements for all but $8 million of the expected $30 million in sponsorship, which eventually failed to materialize.
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