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Deals done over Campos, Stefan and ‘no shows’ in 2010
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Deals done over Campos, Stefan and ‘no shows’ in 2010
Posted By: James Allen  |  31 Jan 2010   |  4:01 pm GMT  |  39 comments

Stefan Grand Prix from Serbia, has announced that it has done a deal to use many of the Toyota F1 assets, a deal that was on the table for all the new teams entering F1 this season.

Meanwhile word is reaching me that A1 GP boss Tony Teixeira has now agreed a deal to acquire Campos, the money is yet to be handed over, however. Campos has a slot on the grid this season, Stefan does not, but wants one badly.

And, intriguingly, with several new teams struggling one way or another, it appears that a deal may have been agreed whereby the new teams will be allowed three ‘no-shows’ at races in the next season.

Stefanovich (right) in Cologne last month

Stefanovich (right) in Cologne last month


“Stefan GP has already made its wishes clear to compete in Formula 1 and Stefan GP has just come to a basic agreement with Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) that Stefan GP will receive technical supports from TMG,” said a statement on Friday.

The deal is reputed to be a very generous one, it gives a team the cars Toyota developed for 2010, plus technical support from the staff Toyota has maintained for very little cost. It’s almost a turn-key operation. I’ve spoken to some of the new team owners about this deal and they had their own reasons for turning it down, despite the fact that the alternative requires massive investment and infrastructure. In the case of Lotus, the specific terms and conditions were not attractive, as they involved Lotus dispensing with the services of key personnel. Ironically many of the Toyota staff have now gone to Lotus, so much so that Jarno Trulli says he feels very at home already with the team.

As FOTA president Martin Whitmarsh said before the Stefan announcement on Friday, “Toyota built two cars that were available from Christmas, and I am rather surprised that some of them (new teams) did not do that – they rather looked a gift horse in the mouth. That was perhaps the wrong decision, but nevertheless they had their own reasons for that decision. We have to see in the coming weeks or months whether we can help those new teams to be there to add to the flavour and diversity of F1.”

It’s pretty late in the day now, the deal was on offer last November. Team principal Zoran Stefanovich appears to enjoy some governmental support thanks to his industrial connections in the aerospace and aviation business. He has been looking at Toyota F1 since the pull out and has been a frequent visitor to the team HQ in Cologne, Germany. He has been putting out regular messages, such as the car, dubbed S-01, passing its crash tests on 29 December. But it has taken until now for him to commit. The question is, why has he committed now? Is there about to be a 13th slot on the grid for him?

The team has said that if it does not get an entry this time it will test throughout the year, as it is entitled to do as it would be outside F1 restrictions. But this statement looks like the firing gun for a period of pressure to get a race entry in 2010.

Teixeira with Felipe Massa

Teixeira with Felipe Massa


Campos have been struggling to get a budget together for some time. They have signed only Bruno Senna and have been looking for a second driver with budget as well as investors. Texeira was interested as he wants an F1 team as a destination for the champion of A1 GP. But A1 GP has not been without its financial problems and it will be interesting to see how Ferrari, a supplier to A1GP, reacts to Teixeira acquiring the team.

Teixeira recently lost a $4.5 million lawsuit with Team USA over withdrawing their franchise in the A1 GP series.

It’s a very delicate process and needs to be handled carefully, but the FIA and FOM will understandably want some assurances; the last thing anyone wants is for the whole new teams initiative to turn into an embarrassment.

The next F1 commission meeting this week will be very interesting.

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39 Comments
  1. Andy C says:

    James

    what were the criteria for selection of the new teams in 2010, and why was Stefan GPs application turned down originally.

    Do you think their attempt to get in in 2010 or 2011 is plausible.

    Does the tech agreement also extend to an engine? Or just design work.

    1. Andy C says:

      I also meant to say, how entertaining would that be if Stefan GP did a Brawn and were entered with more success than the organisation that paid for it(much less likely without the tech staff I know, but just imagine the egg on Toyotas face!)

    2. Brad says:

      Publicly I didn’t hear anyone saying their bid sounded as plausible as the other options when the decision was happening. So it may have been a reasonable decision on what was known.

      Stefan’s later objection about being forced to bid using a Cosworth engine sounds more and more like a valid complaint the longer this goes on though.

  2. Hairs says:

    The FIA have a bit of a minefield to travel over this one, but as usual, it is of their own making. Had they not handed out entries to people that lacked credibility in the first place, they wouldn’t now be looking for ways to prop them up. Another example of why allowing personality, connections and jobs for the boys is no way to allow the sport to be run.

  3. Brace says:

    FIA and FOM should have asked for assurances when they were choosing new teams.
    Instead, Max picked seemingly, weaker ones because he wanted to be able to control them in his own power play with real F1 teams.

  4. F1ART says:

    Well handled Max, sounds like what Luca said about the new teams may have been right, for a change?

  5. Uppili says:

    James,

    Even if Stefan GP get an entry so late, they will have to run with a Toyota engine. Do you know if these were being updated over the winter? Or they also working on aero updates as though all things are a go until the season starts? without these two, even if Stefan GP gets an entry late in the day they will be nothing more than field fillers.

  6. SerbianVoice says:

    Mr. Stefanovic is presumably someone who wants to fool everyone.
    I’m from Serbia, and his talk about the most modern windtunnels in Belgrade is false story.
    We don’t have that.
    Only 1 or 2 old ones which aren’t even for that kind of use and it’s place is on university.

    I hope Stefanovic knows what he is doing, otherwise he’ll embarass us and Balcan.

    1. Brace says:

      Well, I must say I disagree with you. First of all, this team, by all we know about new team, has made much more progress and was much more serious about it than some other new teams.

      Now about your embarrassment comment, could in no way embarrass us or Balkan because he didn’t take name like Force Serbia or SRF1.
      You on the other hand do have a potential to embarrass us by assuming that ridiculous name “SerbianVoice” like you are authorized to speak on behalf of all people.

      I’ve heard different, much more positive story about Stefan GP, which leads me to believe you might have some personal grudge against the team since you feel the need to come out with such a comment and no proof.

      Team has been much more open about its progress than many other teams which they wouldn’t do if they had something to hide.

      1. Bewildered says:

        Ouch

      2. rpaco says:

        Umbrella tips at dawn?

      3. SerbianVoice says:

        So if Ferrari goes through lets say, some cheating moves like spy gates and constantly be last, they wouldn’t embarass Italy.
        You are deeply wrong.
        Everyone knows that StefanGP is Serbian team, and maybe you don’t know, but Belgrade is the capital of Serbia.

        So yes he can embarass us.
        But, I hope not so.

  7. Nick says:

    Regarding the “3 no show” allowances, I tend to disagree with this, if for example campos say they can’t make the first race but stefan have all the parts in place, they should get the grid slot and campos should take on a reserve roll

    il feel slightly sorry for Stefan GP as they appear to be more open about the situation of there team (making them appear stronger than others) however as of now will not be at the first race

  8. Spritkopf says:

    The question is: Was it indeed a gift horse for Lotus et al?

    Maybe Toyota had its reasons for offering very separate deals to Stefan GP and Lotus. Lotus is a competitor in the car market (well, sort of) while Stefanovic is not a car manufacturer at all. And japanese corporate politics tends to be very obscure at times.

    1. rpaco says:

      Yeah, but this Lotus ain’t that Lotus. There is but a tenuous connection with Hethel.

  9. Brad says:

    I hope they come up with a deal to allow a 14th team. That was the original plan after all!

    If Stefan agree to race without taking a share of the team revenue from FOM this year, I can’t see what other valid objections the other 13 could have against it.

  10. kmo says:

    If Stefan tests this year, what will they test?
    A 2010 car with a double diffuser which they may never get a chance to race? Or will they build a car for 2011 without a d.d. which would be off the pace if they did get a chance to compete at any point this year?

    1. James Allen says:

      They will test the 2010 Toyota car, of course. They call it the S-01

  11. Forzaminardi says:

    Toyota supply engines to Lotus Cars…

  12. Rudy Pyatt says:

    Very interesting. Pragmatism comes increasingly to the fore.

    Whitmarsh says McLaren isn’t opposed to customer cars. di Montezemolo still speaks of third cars. Bernie, of all people, is on record saying he wants to bring back pre-qualifying. His disgust at the Andrea Moda episode must be thawing in the face of desired return on investment. And for that return, you need more than Ferrari, McLaren and MB on the grid.

    Seems to me that cost containment and the related need to keep the grids full is ending the current “all or nothing” franchise model that requires every team to run in every race of the championship while building their own car. Modern purists will decry this, but these are relatively new requirements when set against the history of F1. Even factory teams used to give particular races a miss, and the whole of the Cosworth Kit Car era was defined by privateer teams showing up on a race-by-race or part season basis. And that got new blood into the sport.

    By design, costs began their inexorable climb when Bernie put an end to this tradition. The whole point was to keep new members from joining the Club unless they were “up to standard.” So he (and RD, FW etc) made it crippling expensive for anyone else to come in. As we’ve seen over the last decade, this barrier to entry approach (including the notorious $50 million entry fee) ultimately killed off even substantial independents (Ligier/Prost, Arrows); forced others into dubious alliances that threatened their independence (Williams); created prohibitively expensive mediocrity (pre-Brawn Honda/BAR; Toyota); and raised the financial stakes so high that the people signing the checks wouldn’t keep signing them without success arriving on schedule (BMW).

    Stefan GP may bring back race-by-race participation this very season. And in future years, this “three for three” plan may well be kept in place for all teams seeking to contest the entire championship, i.e., signatories to the Concorde Agreement as we know it: Give everybody a chance for a “bye” week if they want to use it, even for (gasp!) in season testing.

    Given that we’re hearing about them, maybe these things are already in the Agreement.

    Of course your chances of winning either championship decrease without racing in every round, but if you turn up and max point every race while others DNF or finish out of the points, who knows? I don’t think it’s unfair to the big teams to have others race in fewer rounds, because they have greater resources and will use those resources to the limit, period. If the Grandees can’t outdo teams taking up to three races off, to say nothing of true race-by-race part timers, they don’t deserve to win.

    1. James Allen says:

      I don’t know, it goes against the grain of what Ecclestone has achieved with F1 over the years to go back to the days of teams not doing every race. Let’s not forget that last season we saw qualifying where all the cars were within a second. That is some kind of professionalism across the field in comparison with most of F1′s history

    2. DaCousin says:

      Some good points here, the issue with a 14th team is more to do with numbers of garages than safety though revenue share may be an issue, Stefan GP are planning to test throughout the year anyway so may be happy to only compete in races where there are plenty of garages, which is most circuits and any races where other teams can’t make it, they would probably expect to do extra testing to make up for missed Grand Prix though.
      If safety of numbers of cars on track is an issue then there is always pre-qualifying but I can’t see any of the new teams with slots going for that.

  13. mate says:

    James, I remember on one occasion in 2008 Martin Brundle said Jarno Trulli is your favourite driver. Is that true?

    1. James Allen says:

      Er, no I don’t think he said that. I admire his artistry as a driver, I like Jarno very much as a bloke and he’s a great winemaker. But he’s not my favourite driver. I don’t really have one. Gilles Vileneuve and Ayrton Senna were favourites growing up and when I started in F1 I was lucky to work with Senna for four years before he died. Today there are two or three I really admire

      1. bond007 says:

        so can we know who those 2/3 drivers u admire ..james ?

      2. James Allen says:

        You can take a guess if you like..

      3. bond007 says:

        being british :D lewis for sure….after all the stories frm u :P … schumi and ….. coz i am a fan…. hoping Alonso ;) ??

  14. Phill says:

    Toyota supply engines for Lotus (road cars).

  15. Rishi says:

    If Teixera really has bought into Campos Meta it would be bittersweet in many ways. It would probably save the series (A1GP) as well as the team because he’s been trying to get a package of loans to save the series for months now and with this deal I’d assume the financiers/investors he’s negotiating with will feel Teixera has a realistic plan for A1 and that that in turn will make it more credible for them to invest in him to save it (hope that makes sense!).

    Additionally A1GP is currently in administration (or possibly liquidation but I think it’s the former) with their Operations arm looking to sell all the series’ assets at the price acceptable for the creditors. Its parent company, A1 Holdings (with Teixera at the forefront) is the Operations arm’s largest creditor sso if the loans do materialise then by bidding Teixera will receive a large chunk of his bid back – a bonus indeed against competitors (http://a1.gpgrid.com/latest-a1gp-season-5-situation/).

    Being a fan of A1 as well as F1 it’d be good to see it revived and one thing that’ll be good for Campos is that Teixera is a fighter and that might be what they need right now. But at the same time I wasn’t alone among A1 fans in hoping for a change in management. Under Teixera’s control A1 often was/has been a bit of a shambles. It had flawed business plans, poor marketing, low attendances and cancelled races to begin with. Then, with things looking up – he adversely restructured the company and embarked on the – with hindsight suicidal – Ferrari deal with the credit crunch already biting. The result? Yet more cancelled races last season! Crucially, he even failed to show up for Australia’s big racing weekend at Surfer’s Paradise in October – vowed to repay them and hitherto hasnt and his company Energem is quite heavily in debt and has been delisted by the Canadian and London Stock Exchanges.

    Sorry about the variety of points here – many of which have been about A1 but to return to F1 this also demonstrates a habit of breaking promises and so I also wonder if Campos are in the last chance saloon by turning to him. It could be that hes learned from his mistakes but if he hasnt and, equally, if the loans don’t materialise anyway maybe he won’t repay them either and they’ll sort of become F1′s Portsmouth FC (if that’s the right comparison) with persistent payment problems.

    1. James Allen says:

      I’ve got to be honest, I’ve never really got A1GP.

      1. Noelinho says:

        Same here – this whole nationalism thing in motor racing, it just doesn’t fit right.

        It’s probably magnified by the fact that the series doesn’t have the best of the best. It just feels…a bit counterfeit, to be honest.

    2. Martin Collyer says:

      Given all the problems and broken promises you have listed, it sounds more appropriate for Teixera to link up with Gillett and reform Team Shambles!!!!!!!!!!

  16. F1 Dave says:

    Wasn’t just the FIA that picked the new teams.

    I read an article at the time the teams were selected stating that the FIA, FOM, Bernie & CVC had all gone over the applications & each selected the teams that looked like they had the best long term structure.

    Based on what I’ve been raeding/hearing, When selected Campos looked like the strongest of the new teams. They had a car already designed & put forward a long term plan of where they wanted the team to start, there plans for the 1st year & where they wanted to be beyond that year on year.

    Whats happened is that they have designed the car, built it, had it pass all FIA crash test’s but not been able to pick up the sponsorship they had hoped to which put there financial situation on the back foot. There initial plan as handed to FIA, Bernie, FOM & CVC looked extremely strong.

    Lotus look like there in a strong position as do Virgin/Manor & USF1 look a great deal stronger than you would believe reading some of the stuff thats been put around the media. The only team thats starting to look like there in trouble is Campos & as I sai dthats only because the sponsorship they were hoping for didn’t happen.

    Also worth pointing out that some of the teams that were not selected tried to sue the FIA over the selection process & lost the case after an independant court looked over said selection process & found no irregularities.

    As for Luca Di Montezemolo, he only ever went after the new teams because he still wants 3rd cars. I saw a report stating that he blames the fact 3rd cars are not allowed as the reason Schumacher left Ferrari.

    1. rpaco says:

      Well Ferrari had an unfair deal with the FIA for years giving them more funds, so why should they not have 3 cars when everyone else only has two?
      Maybe they should be given ten points to start the season too, just so there’s no doubt.

  17. James Allen says:

    I’ve got to be honest, I’ve never really got A1GP.
    Btw, really good post. Waiting for the next one!

  18. Noelinho says:

    James, am I understanding this right? Each new team will be allowed 3 no-shows, and Stefan GP will take their place for the no-show?

    And if so, does that mean that only one team can take a no-show for any given GP?

    It all seems a little amateur. In football, if you can’t fulfill your fixtures, you get thrown out. This isn’t the F1 I really want to see. I don’t want half-hearted teams who can’t commit to showing up every week.

  19. CTP says:

    james, when you say 13th entry, do you really mean 14th entry?
    or you’re speculating that another team will drop out and stefan will be aiming to replace them?

  20. HD says:

    Will the FIA, FOM really not allow a team with two 2010 spec cars ready to race enter the season when others may not complete it?

    Surely Stefan GP should be allowed to race.

  21. Rui Vale says:

    It’s unbelievable how FIA managed “this” year “new” teams … and if You see it closer, how could a team like Sauber be out of the 2010 champ. and needed other one to step down to enter the same champ.?

    Fortunately, everything turn out right to Sauber!

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