A1GP in crisis, cancels first races in Surfers

A1GP has called off next week’s planned opening rounds in Surfers Paradise, plunging the series as a whole into renewed doubt.

Replacing the IndyCar Series – which could not agree on a date with the Surfers authorities – at the famous Australian street race had been a massive coup for A1GP, but a statement from the series said that the knock-on effect of the close season problems (which included the championship’s operating arm A1GP Operations Ltd going into liquidation and Ferrari rumoured to be demanding the return of its supply of engines in a row over non-payment) meant it had been impossible to prepare the cars in time for Surfers.

Series boss Tony Teixeira insisted that the championship is not now effectively dead. “The series found itself in a race against time to make the deadline for when its cars would have to leave the UK to be on track in Surfers Paradise next Thursday,” said the statement. “The series organisers never doubted this was possible, but today have been forced to accept this now cannot happen.

“One effect of the UK operating arm of the series going into liquidation in June was that access to the cars and the ability to pay its suppliers has been impeded,” he said. “What should have been a summer upgrading the machinery in time for the first race of the 2009/10 season has turned into a frustrating time for achieving this.”

Teixeira remains adamant that the cancellation of Surfers does not mean the end of A1GP: “A1GP may be down, but I do not accept we are out. We have had four exciting seasons that have proved we are a force in the sport and now we shall consolidate on what we have achieved to date.” He added, “My efforts will be on finding a way forward with the support of some very loyal people.”

The 2008/9 season opener for A1GP is now scheduled to be at Zhuhai, China on the 15th of November. If it happens.

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