Under starters orders - Formula One hopefuls hold their breath 12 Jun 2009
When the FIAs planned budget cap was announced it quickly became a lightning rod for controversy amongst the established teams. For others, however, the cost cuts meant some long-held Formula One dreams were given a potential green light. The FIA is due to release the 2010 entry list on Friday and it could include up to 13 names. We run down the main contenders hoping to join (or in some cases, rejoin) the Formula One paddock next season
Long before the entry period opened, F1 veterans Peter Windsor and Ken Anderson made public their plans to launch a US-based Formula One team, to prove that American technology, American drivers and the American competitive spirit can compete and win on the F1 global stage. The pair are ambitious and experienced. British-born Windsor is a former Williams team manager and is best known as an F1 commentator on US television, while American engineer Anderson, recently responsible for the Windshear wind tunnel facility, reprises the technical director role he held with the Ligier F1 team back in the 80s. They have already moved into a base in Charlotte, North Carolina, and have started to hire key personnel ahead of a bigger recruitment push in the autumn. They have also begun drawing up a shortlist of prospective American drivers.
In April 2006 Prodrive beat 21 other hopefuls to be named the 12th team on the 2008 grid. However, the Banbury-based outfit planned to use chassis supplied by McLaren, and uncertainty over customer car legality ultimately led them to pull out. News that a cost cap was to be introduced for 2010 reignited Prodrives F1 hopes and it came as no surprise when Chairman - and former Benetton and BAR team principal - David Richards announced their entry. Richards has financial backing from investment bank Dar Capital and there is speculation that the team could use the Prodrive-owned Aston Martin name in the future.
After an extensive evaluation project, British race car makers Lola announced plans to lodge a 2010 bid last month. Lolas previous F1 involvement spans from the 1960s through to the late 90s, with their last race appearance at the 1997 Australian Grand Prix. The Huntingdon-based company, who have an F1-standard wind tunnel, the latest Computational Fluid Dynamics and Finite Element Analysis equipment and a seven-post dynamic chassis rig , has already appointed new key staff and allocated some of their top engineers to the project. Lolas racing heritage also includes Champ Car in America, Formula Nippon in Japan, Formula 3000, Formula Three and A1GP in Europe. The company currently produces the race-winning LMP1 and LMP2 sports cars competing in the Le Mans Endurance and American Le Mans Series.
British Formula Three team Litespeed plan to revive the Team Lotus name if their bid is successful. Litespeed team principal Nino Judge worked in aerodynamics and structure testing for Lotus from 1989-91, while colleague Steve Kenchington was responsible for control systems at Lotus Engineering for 21 years and was one of the originators of their active suspension system. Also on board is former Toyota and Force India technical director Mike Gascoyne, whose company MGI Ltd will act as technical consultants. Litespeed have also recruited former Lotus F1 driver Johnny Herbert as a driver manager and commercial ambassador for the team.
Campos Meta 1
Spanish Formula Three team Campos Racing was one of the first to take a step into the unknown, submitting their bid just minutes after the week-long entry period opened. Owned by former Formula One driver Adrian Campos, and with a form lodged alongside Meta Image, the team will be known as Campos Meta 1.
Spains Epsilon Euskadi currently fields teams in sportscar and junior single-seater formulae. Team boss Joan Villadelprat is an F1 veteran of 25 years and has worked at both McLaren and Ferrari, while engineering director Sergio Rinland is also well known to the sport, his last F1 post being chief designer with Sauber. The team already have extensive manufacturing facilities, including a wind tunnel and autoclaves, and have raised 65 million, which Villadelprat believes is sufficient funding for the next four seasons.
This bid hopes to use the historic Brabham name, though this could be contested by original Brabham team founder Sir Jack Brabham and his family, who have no connection with the project. Its led by German businessman Franz Hilmer, who co-owns an F3 Euroseries squad. Hilmer bought the assets of Super Aguri when it went into administration last year and the team plan to use the former F1 teams factory at Leafield in the UK as their base. The Japanese squads ex-technical director Mark Preston is onboard and Formtech, Hilmers tool design and construction company, will build the cars at Leafield if their bid is accepted. The project also claims to have secured 75 percent of the financial backing it needs to compete from 2010-12.
Former Williams, McLaren and Benetton racer Alexander Wurz hopes to become an F1 team principal with Team Superfund. With backing from investment company (and former Formula One sponsors) Superfund in place and plans in place to run with the standard-specification Cosworth engine, Wurzs start-up looks to be a serious proposition.
Part of the MSC Organization Ltd, which own the International Formula Masters championship, N.Technology has won seven European and five Italian touring car championships with Alfa Romeo, as well as eight Italian rallying championships with Fiat. Although there are thought to be some partners in place, the outfit has decided not to make any announcements until their entry has been accepted. Staff onboard, however, include N.Technology team founders Mauro Sipsz and Monica Bregoli.