Governing body punishes USF1 team for 2010 no-show

By Alan Baldwin

The International Automobile Federation (FIA) said in a statement at the European Grand Prix the fine was equal to the entry fees for the season already paid by the North Carolina-based team.

The FIA's World Motor Sport Council also decided to disqualify USF1, depriving the team of the right to take part in any competition, and order them to pay the costs of the disciplinary procedure.

USF1 had been due to enter as one of four all-new teams this year but admitted failure in February, a month before the season's start in Bahrain.

They initially asked the FIA to be allowed to delay their entry by four races and then sought a year's suspension, which was refused.

"USF1's non-participation in the championship is an act prejudicial to the interests of the championship and to the interests of motor sport generally," the world council declared in its decision.

In its defense, USF1 claimed 'force majeure' and pointed out they had submitted their application a day before Honda decided to withdraw from the championship in a major shock to the sport.

They said their efforts to raise funds had also been hit by uncertainty over future regulations and negative press articles casting doubt on their ability to participate in the championship and leading sponsors to hold back on payments.

In a detailed verdict the FIA stated USF1 had claimed to have $26 million, of an anticipated $60 million budget, in sponsorship under binding written contracts as of late December.

"This was about a lack of funds," the motor sport council concluded.

"The team, whilst well-intentioned, had displayed poor financial management and had underestimated the requirement to present an F1 car for the 2010 season in the time and with the financial resources available to them."

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)