FEARS over the future of US F1 grew further last night after a major sponsor decided to withdraw its support.
The North Carolina-based outfit have already asked the sport’s governing body, the FIA, to explore the possibility of missing the first four races of the season due to a lack of cash.
But their problems got worse yesterday when Geneva-based financial services group, Locstein, announced it would pull out of a deal in light of their current problems.
Now, with the F1 season starting in Bahrain in a little over a fortnight’s time, work has all but ground to a halt at the team’s HQ with several of the workforce quitting, leaving a core of just 60.
A Locstein statement read: “As a matter of course, Locstein evaluates a variety of business opportunities around the globe, including sponsorship in Formula One racing.
“Locstein did engage US F1 Team regarding sponsorship, but when it was apparent the team was not able to participate in the entire 2010 season, Locstein elected to withdraw from further involvement with US F1.”
This latest blow could well prove the final nail in the coffin for the team as key investor, YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley, was believed to be locked in talks about a possible merger with another of the new teams, Spanish hopefuls Campos Meta, who are also experiencing financial difficulties.
This could also lead to driver Jose Maria Lopez also switching his allegiance to Campos from US F1.
It is understood the Argentinian driver has an estimated £5m worth of sponsorship behind him to guarantee his drive for the 2010 season.