Everyone loves an underdog, and there are few underdogs like the U.S.-based USF1 (or USGPE) team that was to bring America back to the Formula 1 grid this season. But reports out today indicate USF1 may already be out of the running.

The reports state that delays in getting the car ready would force the team to miss the first three 2010 F1 races altogether, forcing them out of the series. There are also rumors that YouTube founder and CEO Chad Hurley has dropped his support for the team, dealing a significant financial blow.

USF1's only confirmed driver, Jose Maria Lopez, is reportedly seeking to preserve his entry into F1 by working on a seat with Campos-Meta, another new team to the 2010 F1 grid, and itself still on shaky footing with regard to the 2010 season. Hurley is also thought to be interested in casting his lot with the Campos-Meta team.

Neither the USF1 team nor Peter Windsor, the leading principal behind the team, have issued an official statement on the matter.

We're still holding out a tiny spark of hope for USF1's success, but the skies are dark over America's return to F1 today.

[SpeedTV, GMM]