The future of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport has been thrown into grave doubt with the cancellation of the opening event of the 2009/10 winter series.
The abandonment of the Surfers Paradise round, scheduled for October 25, followed public statements by series boss Tony Teixeira that he had secured loans of £400 million to safeguard A1GP’s long-term future. Those funds did not materialise in the week leading up the scheduled departure of the fleet of ‘Powered by Ferrari’ A1GP single-seaters, forcing A1GP to withdraw from the street event on Australia’s Gold Coast.
Teixeira gave no explanation for the cancellation, except to say that A1GP had lost “its race against time to make the deadline for when its cars would have to leave the UK”.
The financial position of the series, which should by now have been heading into its fifth season, has been shrouded in mystery since the summer.
The freight company that had shipped the cars around the world for the past two seasons, Delivered on Time, retained the A1GP fleet under the terms of a ‘lien’ following non-payment. In June, A1GP Operations, the technical side of the company, was wound up.
The extent of A1GP’s debt is unclear. Court papers reveal creditors for Operations totalling nearly £100m, although parent company A1GP Holdings is listed as being owed £85m.
Those figures do not include cash still owed to the teams in prize money. Teixeira himself has put the total debt at a much lower figure, approximately £20m. He continues to insist that A1GP does have a future.
“A1GP may be down, but I do not accept that we are out,” he said. “My efforts will be on finding a way forward.”
The second round of the series is scheduled for Zhuhai in China on November 15.