Stefan GP has announced that it has taken the extraordinary step of sending equipment out to Bahrain, the site of the first race of the season, even though it has not yet got an entry for the championship. It has its sights set on the entry currently held by Campos Meta. And Stefan GP have announced a test at Portimao at the end of February, with the likelihood that Toyota backed Kazuki Nakajima will drive the car.
“Stefan Grand Prix writes history! SGP becomes the first team in F1 history who did send a 40 foot container full of equipment to the race in Bahrain without having entry for 2010 season!” said a statement.
“On Friday 29th January we showed our spirit, and how serious our management and our employees are when they say that we are pushing to get the entry, and that they want to race in 2010 season.
“Anyway we are proud of us, and on our power of will, so we will keep going and show some new people belong in F1.”
Stefan GP has taken over the assets of Toyota’s F1 programme and the cars which the team had developed.
They have also made two interesting hirings; last year they recruited designer Mike Coughlan, who was at the heart of the McLaren spy scandal of 2007 and also former McLaren sporting director Dave Ryan, who was ousted last season following Lewis Hamilton’s episode of lying to the race stewards in Melbourne.
Notwithstanding the Melbourne episode, Ryan is one of the most experienced and respected figures in F1 with a pedigree stretching back to James Hunt’s days.
An experienced hand like Ryan will know the difficulties of getting freight out to early Grands Prix, something some of the other new teams are grappling with as they get up to speed on how F1 works.
They are pushing hard because they are aware that the sale of Campos to A1 GP boss Tony Teixeira is not being met with approval at the higher levels of the sport.
Some of the key staff from Toyota’s programme are still there including technical director Pascal Vasselon. Sources suggest that the cars should be quiet competitive, if given a chance to compete, particularly in qualifying, although the Toyota’s fuel consumption was not as competitive as the benchmark engines and so they may have to run slightly heavier fuel loads in races, if they get the chance to race.
That will depend on the proposed takeover of Campos. Some powerful figures are said to be unsure about it. Ferrari are owed several million euros and it is hard to see how they would approve of him making an entry without settling the debts.
The issue was discussed at yesterday’s F1 commission meeting.
Meanwhile it appears that the proposal for new teams to be allowed to have three ‘no-shows’ at Grands Prix has now been agreed. It appears that these can be taken at any time so it is theoretically possible for a new team to miss the first three races of the season and start at Shanghai on April 18th.