ART withdraws 2011 bid as American team eye final grid slot

ART has announced that it will no longer be seeking an entry into next year’s Formula One World Championship, after withdrawing its application from the FIA’s bidding process.

Following the annoucement in May, the GP2 frontrunners had been tipped as favourites to secure F1’s ’13th slot’  – after USF1 failed to enter this season on financial grounds and Stefan GP’s late bid was rejected.

However, following much deliberation, the French-based outfit has decided against entering, due to the current state of the world economy.

“ART Grand Prix has decided to withdraw their application to the International Federation of Automobiles (FIA) to take part in the 2011 Formula One World Championship,” said a statement from ART.

“The team has been working for several months on this ambitious project that they had undertaken with determination and lucidity.

“ART Grand Prix had forged strong bonds with several technical and financial partners but with unfavourable economic conditions they could not gather the necessary guarantees to ensure the stability of the project in the long term.

“Therefore, the company will have to postpone its project until a later date, however it remains completely focused and dedicated to the other single-seater championships in which they are successfully involved in.”

Subsequently, ART’s place on the FIA’s tender process has quickly been filled, with the announcement that the American-based Cypher Group has submitted an official application to join the grid.

In a statement Cypher, believed to contain members from the defunct USF1 team, also confirmed an agreement with American driver Jonathan Summerton.

“We have officially submitted our candidature and hope that we will shortly be selected by the FIA as the 13th entry in the 2011 FIA Formula One World Championship.” the statement read. “We aspire to bring America’s red, white, and blue back into Formula 1.”

“Jonathan is capable of racing against the top Formula 1 drivers and we hope to be able to give him a competitive car. We look forward to the opportunity of being on the starting grid in 2011.”

Although an American F1 team may still prove lucrative to the sport, Cypher will face stiff competition for the final slot from Epsilon Euskadi, Stefan GP and Durango. The bid is also separate from another proposal, by former US F1 representative Parris Mullins, to forge a relationship with an existing entry.

Summerton has raced in a variety of series during his career, including Formula BMW USA, Formula Three Euroseries and the Atlantic championship. However, the 22-year-old’s greatest feat to date came during the 2007-2008 A1GP series when he won for Team USA in the feature race in Shanghai.