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Stefan GP takes one step back, while F1 loses faith in US team
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Stefan GP takes one step back, while F1 loses faith in US team
Posted By: James Allen  |  22 Feb 2010   |  10:08 pm GMT  |  171 comments

The thrusting Stefan GP team took its first backwards step today when it was forced to call off its planned test in Portugal due to a lack of tyres. The team does not have an entry but is hoping that it will be given one soon if USF1 or Campos fails to make it.

Bridgestone, which is in the final year as tyre supplier to F1, is not obliged to supply tyres to the Serbian outfit and according to Stefan GP, it hasn’t come up with 2010 tyres for them to test.

After weeks of pushing hard and issuing go ahead statements, this is the first time Stefan have got some egg on their face. They have been filling the news wires with stories of taking over the Toyota F1 assets, sending containers to Bahrain, hiring ex McLaren designer Mike Coughlan and being in final negotiations with drivers like Jacques Villeneuve and Ralf Schumacher, both of whom have said that it’s not as serious a relationship as that just yet.

This is Formula 1 and stories like this always seem to have a place, so Stefan pumps them out; talk is cheap and there is a voracious media with a great appetite for stories. It’s very easy to get headlines every day until such time as a boundary is reached. Not testing when you said you were going to test is such a boundary.

Interestingly Bernie Ecclestone is a big backer of this Stefan GP bid and an influential figure, yet a supply of tyres was not forthcoming.

Meanwhile I sense a growing lack of patience over USF1′s situation from within F1. Having asked to be allowed to miss the first four races of the season, although some argue that they merely enquired about the possibility, there doesn’t seem to be much sympathy for them, nor much belief that they will get a car out in the foreseeable future.

The FIA has made it clear in a statement recently that, “From a sporting and regulatory point of view, each Team that has registered for the Championship is obliged to take part in every event of the season. Any failure to take part, even for just one Championship event, would constitute an infringement both of the Concorde Agreement and the FIA Regulations.”

As regulator of the series, the FIA has the responsibility to act in the interests of the series, so if there is a belief that the team may make it, if granted a dispensation, that could happen.

However if major doubts exist as to the viability of one of the competitors and another appears to be viable, particularly if it has the backing of the commercial rights holder, then the way is clear for the original entrant to lose his entry.

Time is running out.

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171 Comments
  1. Steve dearsley says:

    Hi James,

    Thanks for the web site, it’s been a lifeline over the winter…

    I like the sound of these smaller teams with experienced drivers, it’ll show how much of a difference they can make. But I am worried about how the f1 brand is being diluted.

    I’d say let’s go back to spend what you like, and test as much as you want to be the fastest you can be……..maybe it would improve “the show” with this much talent on the track.

    1. Paul Kirk says:

      Sorry Steve, I don’t agree, I’ve seen too many classes of motor sport stuffed up by the big money competitors making it too difficult for others to be competitive! There has to be some equalizing limitations imposed, although I think the currant testing rules need modification, to me it would be logical to allow the new teams more testing time. Also, I don’t see a problem with them missing a few races, it happens in most other forms of racing, and it’s better to be fully prepared than to go off half cocked.
      PK.

  2. Connor McKinley says:

    Is it reasonable to expect that Stefan GP get a slot if USF1 pull out so close to the start of the season? I would think there would be some issues to overcome but Bernie seems quite positive about them racing this season it seems to me

  3. Scott Bloom says:

    Stefan is clearly relying on some kind of a backdoor message from Bernie or others. Yes, they missed a test. But unlike others, at least they have a car.

    1. F1-Fan says:

      Have you seen the car? Of course not. Don’t talk if you didn’t see.

  4. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

    And there was Winsdor talking about how US productivity is superior to European and about how his “shop” was open an extra 16 days etc.

    The fact is that even with working half the number of working days as Americans, Europeans will always produce better performance cars…period (except the Spanish at Campos of course!).

    This whole USF1 thing seemed like a bit of a farce from day one. Workshop in Charlotte and team principal Peter Windsor were the biggest pointers for under-delivering.

    Would love to see how Jacques Villeneuve turns out if he does end up racing with Stefan GP. Will we still see the baggy overalls and grunge paraphernalia or has JV mellowed somewhat after fatherhood?

    1. Tim says:

      I wouldn’t say ‘Europeans’, I’d say British as most of the teams are based here :)

      It’s one thing the British can be truly proud about – our racing heritage and expertise.

  5. Nathan says:

    I think it is an interesting scenario with USF1, especially as a provisional place on the F1 grid was given to them, when there were other well respected members of the motor racing community that were also vying for those positions. It perhaps shows that the due diligence was inadequate and they were picked for political/commercial reasons only – trying to rebuild F1 in America.

    Do USF1 actually have a car? Does anyone know if Cosworth have actually crated engines over to them? Or any other supplier for that matter?!

    Yet I assume that even though Stefan GP have a car that they have the adequate funds to run it for a full season. Bringing a driver from yester-year (F1 trend for 2010) might attract some extra money I guess, and the hope that the Toyota-designed car could be competitive. But is that a guarantee to contest every round?

    1. James Allen says:

      I’ve seen some engines in the Cosworth factory, crated up and ready to send.

      1. John Z says:

        Translation: They don’t have any money to pay for anything. They supposedly had youtube as a major sponsor but that has gone nowhere. I also believe they were counting on two drivers to pay their own way and none have been willing to commit the cash. Windsor was pretty arrogant and bullish all last year saying that they would be ready to run come Bahrain. It’s not as easy as he made it out to be. He shouldn’t be expecting any favors from Jean Todt. Windsor wrote a nice piece for F1 Racing a couple of years ago when Todt finally stepped away from Ferrari. He ripped Todt pretty hard in that article. Karma can be a female dog.

      2. Stephen Kellett says:

        Ready to send, not sent.

        Says it all, doesn it James?

      3. Simon says:

        Hi James,

        If neither Campos or USF1 make the grid and subsequently renege on their engine supply is there any indication on how Cosworth might fare with the reduced revenue.

        PS. Thanks for keeping me interested in the off season.

      4. James Allen says:

        Good point. They are pretty well covered with five teams at the moment. Three was the minimum to make the model work. They have already been paid by all five teams, they tell me

      5. colm says:

        I read somewhere they skipped paychecks back in November or December, but may be back on track now. Paying for engines may be the least of their worries.

    2. Buck61 says:

      I am a Canadian so I see first hand what Americans are like. We lost the race here for a year and it hurt the sport in North America but I don’t think have an American team will help as much as Canada getting a GP again. What I am saying lets just forget about the Americans teams and give the people want to see. Lots of fast cars and no Americans on the grid.

  6. The USF1 situation is a mystery – Ken Anderson and Peter Windsor have a plausible track record. But what possessed them to think it was a good idea to build the car in North Carolina where there is no F1 culture? If all the Toyota millions couldn’t get the job done in Cologne what made them think the good old boys could pull it off down south, with a fraction of the budget? There is no mileage in being different for the sake of it. Marketing reasons seem to have led them astray. It reminds me of the early days of B.R.M. when being British was an end in itself, but failed to win any races.
    In fairness this is the wrong time to be starting a racing team in any formula.
    RGDS RLT

    1. Peter Windsor is an admirer of Toyota’s methods and has been for years. It stands to reason that he thought that if they could create the necessary environment in Germany, he could do the same in the USA.

      I think he forgot that he needed more than one sponsor in order to get to F1.

    2. Kenny says:

      As you say, it’s a mystery…

      I think setting up shop in the United States was part of the cost reduction plan. I also think that USF1 has (or had) a rigid schedule in place that did not make allowances for any delays in deliveries, payments (in or out), FIA decisions…anything. Any delay put the whole program in jeopardy. USF1′s own silence, and the predictions of doom in the press and by BE certainly could not have inspired confidence from suppliers, sponsors, or even employees.

      This is all speculation. Anyone having hard info or another slant on the matter, please let’s hear from you….

      1. Paul Kirk says:

        Good on you, Kenny, it’s great to read someone who’s not rubbishing USF1! You’re right, none of us really know the trials and tribulations they’re strugling with! I, for one, wish them luck!
        PK. (NZ)

  7. Alex says:

    “However if major doubts exist as to the viability of one of the competitors and another appears to be viable, particularly if it has the backing of the commercial rights holder, then the way is clear for the original entrant to lose his entry.”

    Just the kind of thing StefanGP (and supporters) love to hear right now, but I doubt it’s that simple.

    Can the FIA admit now that StefanGP would have been (or will be) a more viable competitor than USF1 was/is and they made a ‘mistake’ during the initial selection process?

    As you said, they are running out of time to (re-)asses the situation.

    The original entrant could lose its entry but there’s no guarantee that another potential replacement will be granted the vacant spot – particularly this late in the preparation process and way past the entry application deadline, even if the new ‘prospect’ is backed by the commercial rights holder, the teams (current entry holders) would have to agree.

    1. alex says:

      Unless I am very much mistaken Stefan GP was not in the initial selection process. They did not come to light until quite recently, and if it were not for having bought the Toyota assets they would not have anything to go racing with.

      I do not beleive that at this time, they have a base that is set up and capable of running a viable F1 team, let alone the full complement of staff necessary. They will be racing on the back of the Toyota tech support, aand trying to get the base set up while they are away for the first four fly-aways..

      they have the budget to race this season, but do they have enough infrastructure in place to develop a car for 2011??

      1. Spark says:

        This is not true. They were in the original bidding. They are persuing legal complaints against the FIA for their selection process. This due to the fact that apparently the teams that have opted to choose the Cosworth motor had precedence above the ones that opted to run another motor.

      2. ranavalona says:

        You are, indeed, alex, very much mistaken. Stefan GP was one of the fifteen prospective new teams to submit applications in 2009. Like most of the others they were turned down by the FIA, and later filed a complaint against the FIA claiming bias in favour of the teams which would agree to use the Cosworth engine.

        As for their infrastructure, well …………
        they have more than USF1! Stefanovic is an engineer as well as a businessman.

      3. Robert McKay says:

        “Unless I am very much mistaken Stefan GP was not in the initial selection process. They did not come to light until quite recently, and if it were not for having bought the Toyota assets they would not have anything to go racing with.”

        No they were, hence them taking on the FIA because they believed the process was inherently unfair.

        Which, ironically, may reduce the Federation’s interest in seeing them come in to replace USF1.

      4. Brace says:

        They were in the initial selection process. They even complained to EU about FIA selection process.

      5. Alex says:

        Yes, StefanGP was one of the (unsuccessful) applicants. Once refused, they filed a complaint with the EU, suggesting that FIA’s selection process was biased towards teams that would run the Cosworth engines – same kind of complaint N.Technology filed when they were refused.

        Indeed, we don’t know if they would have had anything to go racing with were it not for the purchase of the Toyota assets.

      6. Phil C says:

        You’re very much mistaken – Stefan was one of the 15 applicants for the (at the time) three spaces available on the grid.

        However, as alex asked – can the FIA admit that at the time Stefan were more viable than USF1? No they can’t.

        At the time, neither Stefan or USF1 had any racing pedigree or any history in any form of motorsport, so to choose between them would have been difficult. Stefan didn’t have Toyota’s cars either – indeed Toyota were still in the championship for 2010!

        However, if you ask – should the FIA admit that others were more viable than USF1, then yes. Both Lola and Prodrive have F1 experience and are able to draw on years of motorsport knowledge to have had a better chance of organising an F1 team

      7. alex m says:

        Stefan GP were in the selection process, it was them who tried to sue the FIA over the whole dodgy issue….. Not normally a great way to get on in such circles, making Bernie’s support of them all the more interesting.

        Personally I do not understand the abject failure of USF1, Windsor worked for Williams in a senior position, Youtube have piles of cash, yet it has never smelt right.

        Moseley’s political scheming and machinations continue to harm F1 greatly, “from beyond the grave”, the damage the man has done fighting his personal battles is almost incalculable.

      8. Tim says:

        Actually, it was N-Technology who took the FIA to court over the selection process. Stefan complained to the EU competition commissioner about the FIA process.

  8. F1 Kitteh says:

    Its interesting to hear Colin Kolles say that Campos had nothing in the factory except for a few guys who’s seen an F1 car, and watching the videos coming out of USF1 one would have to say that it is probably not in much better shape. The whole idea is very admirable but given all the resources and talent that surely exist in the country, yet they haven’t been able to attract very much of it(at least the videos showed many people with little F1 experience…), one would be rightly suspicious of how the whole thing is perceived by the pros/insiders ?

    1. Patrickl says:

      Campos Meta buys their car from Dallara.

  9. Lee Gilbert says:

    The ones with egg on their face are the FIA after making judgements on Campos and USF1 – stating they were better entrants than others that were in better financial shape / backing in place

    USF1 and Campos are a joke and have ruined the effect of a full grid that I was so looking forward to

    Eject them now – and this ‘miss 4 race’ farce is another joke being cooked up by the very people meant to be running the sport

    Campos and USF1 will NEVER make it so lets stop kidding ourselves

    Also – I say lets call Stefan GP’s bluff now and ask them to prove they can and will be in Bahrain

    And then lets all get on with it!

    1. Thomas in Australia says:

      Very well said.

      I could not agree more.

    2. alex says:

      I think campos could make it, but they will be late (they would want to miss they first couple of races), but I don’t think USF! will happen…

      Stefan GP.. I beleive they will be able to compete this season, if they get the go-ahead in time to sign a couple of drivers (please NOT Ralf and JV…), but the issue with them is can they get it together to run a team into 2011??

    3. Kakashi says:

      i agree with you that FIA is to take the blame for the mess… dont think USF1GP should be granted any favors neither do i think all of a sudden stephen GP should be granted an entry… F1 should get politics out of the way ( I hope so )

  10. F1 Kitteh says:

    On Stefan GP, its interesting how these guys seem very open about everything that’s going on (or NOT as the matter might be…). Kind of refreshing at least compared with the super secret atmosphere…

  11. James says:

    The new teams are very welcome in F1, but just what assurances were the FIA given exactly? It’s a bit of a joke now. I remember when Arrows and Prost were struggling to fund their later races, but at least they were established. To not even be able to get a car to testing is just poor. I know that it is a huge, and very costly job to make a reasonable F1 car from scratch, with no previous data, etc, but there has to be a point where the team is there to race and not just be a moving billboard for somebody’s company. It’s meant to be a sport, and if you don’t qualify for the olympics, then you’re not in. A car should not automatically qualify you to race. The new teams WILL get better over time, but I don’t feel great about the thought of a new team not even turning a wheel until the season is underway. Testing while others are racing around you? Come on.
    Rant over.
    In other news,
    James, just a quick question (slightly off topic), does anyone know what happened to the Prost assets that Phoenix tried to run?

    1. Rusty0256 says:

      Assets including all the cars are to be / were auctioned. It just says auction is in May so not sure if it’s this year or already happenned.
      http://www.motorsnippets.com/cars/PoulainLeFur/index.asp

    2. alex says:

      I find it irritating everyone going on about missing tests…

      Sorry James, not a dig at you.. I mean this for the established teams.

      I remember Autosport going on about how much of a risk Red Bull were taking by missing the first test.. Call me picky but I saam to remember last season, the team that missed the first three tests (due to not being able to get the car ready because of changing ownership and engines at the last minute) winning six of the first 7 races and both championships..

      Somehow, I think that Red Bull were taking a very small and calculated risk..

      Based on that, missing one test simply because you want extra development time

    3. Tim says:

      If I remember rightly, the Prost assets were quietly auctioned off to repay some of the team’s debts.

  12. eddyr says:

    It’s so irritating that USF1 say so little. Of course they’re not obliged to but they’re certainly not building up much of a following by being so coy about well, anything…
    You’ve got Peter Windsor who regularly writes/wrote for F1 Racing magazine for example and from reading his columns doesn’t tend to mince his words- yet we’ve still heard pretty much zilch in terms of what on earth is going on. I was fairly interested in them as a new team originally- it would be a good thing, but I’m tired of them already so they should make space for a team that CAN actually race all season- people want to see 13 teams race all season long.

  13. CTP says:

    i wouldn’t be surprised if bernie isn’t behind this latest exercise… it puts some extra pressure on campos and usf1, while building the idea in everyone’s mind that stefan is legit – after all, it’s apparently for reasons beyond their control that they can’t test this week… whether or not they have a car/team ready to go or not, the appearance now is that they do.

  14. arvi says:

    It such an irritation to learn that one team is ready (Stephen) with its car (toyota car) and waiting to be given the goahead from FIA

    and other (USGP) no where near the target and yet drag itself to nowhere…

    why dont they sell their license to stephen gp and wait for 2011?

    practicality and sensibility is not always common…

    is there a need to even enquire FIA about missing 4 gp’s ? when Jean Todt clearly stated that the teams cannot miss even 1 GP?

    such an disgrace to F1 and US

    1. Stu says:

      They cant just sell their “license” to Stefan. Stefan would have to buy the USF1 team outright and then it would legally have a slot.

      But why waste money when they can just wait a little, be given a slot for free and use the first few races as extended test sessions. Races that USF1 were never going to attend anyway

      1. Tim says:

        Even if USF1 gives up its entry, there’s no guarantee the 13th slot on the grid would be awarded to Stefan.

        There was a selection process run before Campos, Virgin, USF1 and Lotus were awarded entries. The FIA has given no indication that it will do an about face simply because Stefan is ready and willing. There may well be other parties interested in a slot on the grid who offer a better long term package than Stefan.

      2. Alex says:

        There may well be other parties interested in a slot on the grid who offer a better long term package than Stefan.

        Fully agree, but who else is capable of filling two grid slots come March 14th? Seems to me that StefanGP is the only possible replacement for USF1 this year by being the only other ‘team’ with a 2010-spec car ‘ready’ to race.

        But, with all the secrecy surrounding this matter and lack of official words from either FIA, FOM or FOTA, I’m prepared for a shock announcement in the very near future :)

      3. Michael P says:

        Agreed. I am fully good with now just saying “sorry, next year territory for the lot of you”. No reason to rush. Either extend the USF1 entry until next year or make it compete again with other revisited contenders such as Lola. Also do be very cautious of Stephan – has some really not so pro vibes about it but could maybe turn out better than that. Just seems like well… a F1 tv offer with a promise of a steak knife set even though I appreciate the effort. This is F1! Would actually be totally unfair if the FIA granted them anything for 2010 and there are still enough teams at the moment. Have all the contenders try again and compete for the last slot (or 3:) next year. Cheers

  15. Seisteve says:

    This whole story is as you say James, Pure F1 the only person who we have not heard from is Toyota who surly must be looking as the looser for what could potentially be a fools errand and not very supportive of the folks in Cologne.

    It is easy to say, No to the USF1 and they could retaliate by simply appearing on the track and doing the bare minimum to meet contracts regulations or even have the car fail scrutineering which would be an even bigger farce.

    Give both risque teams their 4 weeks window to get their act together and if they cannot deliver, close the options and fill the places with other teams for the 2011 season just so we can have the same fun again next year :-)

    1. Patrickl says:

      Yeah, I think it’s hopeless for all 3 struggling teams.

      FIA really should have some performance clause in the contracts for new teams. At least that they need to field a car during a test at least a month ahead of the first race. That way you get rid of the failures before the season really starts and another team might take over.

      At the very least it gives the new team 4 weeks extra to meet the demands and still be ready before the season actually begins.

      1. george debenham says:

        I agree, drivers have to complete a minimum F1 distance to get their super licence, should this not apply to cars also before they are allowed to compete each season? A GP weekend should not be the venue for a cars first run.

  16. Bill says:

    I can’t help feeling that none of the problems that are currently sinking USF1 would have beset Prodrive. I’m completely mystified why an organisation with the proven track record of success that Prodrive has was overlooked by the FIA in favour of an unproven startup.
    I wouldn’t exactly be surprised if politics got in the way of common sense, and Bernie had something to do with it.

  17. Andy C says:

    This is all about reputational risk for f1. I think it would be better to wait to see if Usf1 make it.

    If they don’t. Hold the empty places until next year, due proper due diligence on potential teams (stefan, lola, prodrive) with sone ex f1 tech staff leading the evaluation.

    Nobody wants a repeat of the 1 year teams falling off the map.

    James,
    do you feel that if Bernie wants stefan in, that will be a shoe in? I just can’t think they will be anywhere near staffed by the start of the season even if they got the ok this week.

  18. John says:

    Do we really know what Stefan GP has in place, are both cars ready, is the spare built? I am really worried that these three new teams (Stefan, USF1, and Campos) are just not ready enough to make the grid. Assuming Stefan was given the go ahead that is.

    Dallara is on double shifts, also reports are they will test first week of March in Imola?

    As an American I am clueless on USF1, but I will avoid my remarks for them.

    I am also worried for Force India, Sauber, and Renault from a financial point of view, and certainly add Stefan and Campos to that list. Who knows, will they all be here next year?

    Cheers, thanks for a great site!!

  19. Gareth says:

    Another day and at this rate 2 teams about to collapse. USF1 is becoming a joke and Stefan grand prix seems to have hit more barriers than any team in history.
    So why has this happened? Why did USF1 and Campos beat teams such as Stefan F1 and Prodrive?
    My theroy Spains popularity in F1 has rockted, wha better for Bernie tan a Spanish F1 team to back along with Fernando. USF1 got the slot because the FIA want to crack America. However both are becoming a joke, dont be suprised if Campos do a LOLA 97 and are 14 seconds of the pace and then dissaper from exsistence, whilst never have i heard of a new team coming into F1 4 races in,if thats the case why wasnt the Phoneix team allowed to race in 2002 or Arrows allowed a 2003 entry?

  20. Marc says:

    Would Stefan GP run the Toyota engine from last year?

  21. TG says:

    The interesting point for me is that USF1 have a co-founder of YouTube on board – who was a few months ago (forgive me if I’m wrong) predicting a new model for advertising and sponsorship with the team, and still they can’t attract enough cash to go forward.
    Proves to me the US profile of F1 since Indiannapolis and the tyre fiasco is probably lower than professional conkers.
    By all means give USF1′s place to Stefan GP, but I don’t agree with any teams missing races.
    PS, Mr Ecclestone, I don’t think Pro-Drive would have had any of these problems!

    1. James Allen says:

      Dead right – good point and a great loss to F1 if he goes away

  22. James W says:

    A little bit of bad press of Stefan GP. I have to say, I’ve been sceptical about them all along for some reason, although now I feel that they should be given a shot ahead of USF1.

    USF1 have had ample time to get an entry together and a car. When they announced they would be interested in an entry back in January 2009 I was extremely pleased that a privateer was considering an entry given the tough economic and political climate inside F1 and out.

    I’m hoping Campos can sort themselves out as well. They seem a lot more promosing. Senna and Lopez would be a brilliant combination. Possibly a firey latin combo.

  23. The Limit says:

    I think, if anybody, the FIA are the ones left with egg on their faces. The fact that two of the new grands prix teams have not come to fruition speaks volumes for the way inwhich this sport is run at the highest level.
    At the end of 2009, the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone were desperate for a positive solution to the sports woes. Three hugely important teams had gone to the wall in Honda, BMW Sauber, and Toyota. The focus was damage limitation, proving that the sport had a longterm future.
    Lets not forget, the dust had only just settled on FOTAS attempt at a breakaway series, which would have almost certainly destroyed F1 as a viable and respectable championship. The new teams of USF1, Campos, Virgin F1, and Lotus signalled a brighter future. Peter Sauber’s decision to buy back his old team from BMW also lifted spirits, but now we are seeing the reality aren’t we?
    The fact is that Campos and USF1 never had the money behind them at the start, and the FIA and Ecclestone must have realised this. The prospect of an American based F1 team, run right out of NASCAR’s backyard in North Carolina raised eyebrows, and filled column inches.
    At the end of the day though, the chirade could not last. All the talk of American drivers racing for USF1, from Danica Patrick to Marco Andretti, came to nought. All just to keep everybody’s interest over the cold winter months.
    More concerning, is that it proves that F1 is still too expensive and that alot more can be done to lessen the burden on small teams trying to break into F1. I am sad, annoyed, and a little downbeat. I was really hoping that F1 had turned a corner, but it hasn’t!

  24. Quemerford says:

    I think its important not to forget the need for the small independent teams in F1, as it made the sport what it is today.

    Remember Ferrari and Mclaren were in F1 before they became manufacturers of road cars. And while the mass market manufacturers come and go these teams have kept F1 going for decades along with Williams and the like.

    As anyone who has tried to raise finance for any project knows, its not easy so we should give Campos and USF1 a break. Ambition isn’t a bad thing, yet sometimes projects don’t come off. I just hope we see a full grid this year, and I for one welcome any new team, even if they are 5 seconds a lap off the pace to begin with.

  25. Coldplay says:

    Everyone seems to forget the new teams were lured in the sport under favorable economic conditions: the budget cap. They were pawns in the political struggle betwenn FIA, FOTA, FOM. Well, you could argue they should have seen this coming. There was a lack of transparency on the FIA part, I think è_é

    1. spainandy says:

      Coldplay
      You are right, the cap was a key point of entry, destroyed in the FOTA ‘breakaway’ b/s. So many factors for new teams to cope with. F1 needs them. FIA, FOM, FOTA should cut some slack. They created the mess.

  26. Patrickl says:

    Wouldn’t Stefan GP have some tyres laying around from Toyota? Maybe not exactly the right ones, but he himself stated that he would give it a go on GP2 tyres. Why not try it on 2009 F1 tyres then?

    The whole thing sounds like a lot of bluff. He had planned a team put in a poor proposal and was denied by FIA. He tried to win in court and lost. Then he bought the Toyota cars and homes to clear the egg off his face that way.

    Stefan GP didn’t do any testing, no crash tests, no nothing. All he has is some second hand Toyota’s that he claims can start.

    I’d say Stefan GP isn’t a real team either. Just an attempt for a scorned business dictator to try and get back at FIA.

    He knows it’s never going to work. He knows he’s never going to be allowed on, but now he can always say that he would have been a better pick than USF1 or Campos. Just because he bought some second hand cars (that start) AFTER he was rejected. Costs a few millions, but at least he made FIA look bad.

    1. James Allen says:

      Not 2010 tyres, narrower fronts

      1. Patrickl says:

        So GP2 tyres are more alike 2010 tyres than 2009 F1 tyres?

    2. Zobra Wambleska says:

      The FIA doesn’t need help when it comes to looking bad. These new teams were allowed in to blunt the FOTA break away threat. Max and Bernie created these new team slots for purely political reasons. Now the manufactures are gone and we’re left with this FIA B&M mess.

  27. JohnBt says:

    What an embarassing situation for USF1 and the F1 fraternity. F1 being the pinnacle of motorsports, this is a big downer. Stefan GP must be included without any hesitation. Truly looking forward to 26 cars from Bahrain to Abu Dhabi.

  28. Meeklo says:

    Is the Toyota really ready to roll? I thought the project stopped months ago. Were people still working on it, or was Toyota really that far ahead? I have a feeling that Stefan’s just trying to make another headline.

    If they do get a slot I bet both cars don’t even make it half distance in the first race.

  29. ColinZeal says:

    From a fans perspective I would like to see the 2010 Toyota design on track in form of Stephan GP and I’m not ashamed to say it would even more fascinating if Jacques and Ralf were in the drivers’ seats, even if that part is doubtlessly more PR fantasy than realistic.

    USF1 seem to be hanging on by the skin of their name at this stage! Bernie wants an American team to generate stateside interest but surely one who is little more than traffic to be lapped defeats the purpose. Even if USF1 make the fifth race of the season it seems they will manage little more than making up the numbers and be resigned to the back of the grid.

  30. Chetz says:

    its a no brainer really…its a world championship and not a joke… if for example England have some unfit first team players in their football side, will FIFA allow them to take part in the world cup after the group stages when everybody is fit? or if Roger Federer is injured, will he be allowed to take part in Wimbledon after the fourth round? no…

    besides the way this is going… if usf1 are indeed allowed to show their face after 4 races only, i am pretty sure we are not going to see them ever… so lets be practical… there s a team which has the funding… give them an entry.. and some tyres …and let them start testing n show up at bahrain…

    1. Stu says:

      Any football team that qualifies for a tournament can play whatever team they want to as long as the players are eligible. So if they want to take injured players in case they are fit and rest them for the latter stages (like Ingurlund have done before) they can.

      In tennis, you progress if you win, whether you are injured or not.

      The rest of your post makes perfect sense though, your analogies didn’t make any sense.

      1. Chetz says:

        i know the rules of football and tennis… what i simply meant was that external factors that affect a team’s or an individual’s participation in a championship or a tournament cannot be the pretext for asking for a no-show…n then re-appearing as and when you see fit..(i cud have phrased my earlier post better..yes!)

  31. Justin Holden says:

    Hi James

    Could Stefan GP not purchase tyrs from USF! for the purpose of testing, hence gicng Stefan the chance to test and USF1 a few extra dolalrs in there pockets as they seem to need them.

    IMO it will be a dreadful waste if USF1 fails to make the grid and Stefan is left with two cars that can’t compete as the FIA won’t let them in.

    1. CTP says:

      1. I’m sure it’s prohibited by the rules and regulations.
      2. Even if they could, that would be very bad PR for USF1, so quite unlikely.

    2. alex says:

      no, none of the teams own any tyres, they effectively rent the tyres from Bridgestone..

      Bridgestone transport the tyres around the world and fit, balance and remove the tyres, they destroy them.

      The tyres you see on the cars at unveilings (except those at the circuits) are not real F1 tyres, if they tried to run them, they would last less than half a lap before literally disintegrating.

      The only way Stefan, or any other team could use a car anywhere is if Bridgestone sent a truck and at least two fitters. Even shakedown runs are done in the presence of Bridgestone.

      The same goes for when they run GP2 tyres…

    3. Phil C says:

      The tyres are supplied by Bridgestone, to the teams, usually at the venues. They’re usually also fitted by Bridgestone to the teams wheels. I doubt USF1 have a few tyres knocking around in the warehouse on wheels which will fit the 2010 Toyota!

  32. james v, eres el siguiente says:

    This enterprise is a failure. Sometimes americans get it wrong. And this is one of these times.

    1. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

      I thought that Spanish names were banned?

      “James V, you are the following” ??

    2. jacktors says:

      MOST times amercicans get it wrong..:) I am one btw.

  33. Darren says:

    this is why i love F1. ;-)

  34. Martin Collyer says:

    “…Bernie Ecclestone is a big backer of this Stefan GP bid and an influential figure, yet a supply of tyres was not forthcoming”.

    James, do you sense that Ecclestone does not have quite as much influence as used to be the case?

    In the old days he would surely have managed this switch from USF1 to Stefan GP somehow, tyres or no tyres.

  35. Torrent says:

    I just wonder how someone like David Richards has been turned down 3 times (McLaren B Team, Among 3 new teams, Renault takeover) and guys like campos and USF1 get their entries.
    Does Bernie fear RICHARDS politically because he was kind of promoter to the WRC and that he might challenge his position or what ?

    1. Ieuan says:

      I just wonder how someone like David Richards has been turned down 3 times

      ——

      Dave Richards and ProDrive were granted a licence to start a team a few years ago and didnt even get as far as USF1 currently are. He just couldn’t get any finance together to get started and pulled out very early on, leaving the FIA with egg on their faces for believign he could in the first place, is it any wonder they decided not to give him another chance?

    2. Tim says:

      David Richards wasn’t turned down three times, just once in the selection process for 2010.

      Prodrive was granted an entry a few years ago but pulled out when a rule change would have required the team to be a constructor, rather than run McLaren-supplied equipment.

      Renault considered Richards’ bid to run their team but instead choose to go with Genii. Nothing to do with Bernie.

  36. simon says:

    I don’t understand how this has come about. Presumably USF1 (they could have sorted their website from USGPE…that may have helped) passed due diligence? Why then are they in the mire? And what on Earth is Bernie doing hanging around Stefan, when what F1 needs (not necessarily the fans, but the commercial and sporting side) is more coverage in the US. This was a golden opportunity for Bernie and Co. to get back into the US market and convince the US fans (who still harp on about the 6 car race) that F1 is worth a shout. Look guys, you’ve even got your own team to support! From an F1/US public relations point of view, this is a disaster. I already have one American friend who’s commented on the fact that, if Ross Brawn had taken over USF1, there’d be no end of help. To be fair, I did point out that if RB had taken over the team, it’d be in much better shape!
    So does Bernie want back into the US or not? It would seem not.

    1. Robert Keating says:

      That IS the answer!
      Bernie has no interest in the US because no one in this Country is going to pay him what he wants to bring it here. The US is not some 3rd world nation trying to make itself look legit but pumping government money into it just to get on TV.
      So in turn “bernie” bad mouths the US every chance he gets.

  37. Ben says:

    Has the Stefan car ever been crash tested? I doubt it, Toyota wouldn’t have spent the expense if they were going to pull out.If they haven’t crash tested, theres no point in them turning up anywhere until they have done so.

    No crash test = no race.

      1. Patrickl says:

        I seriously doubt that it passed the FIA crash tests.

        They have commissioned their own “independent crash tests”, but that means nothing.

  38. Bayan says:

    Even if USF1 does come up with a car in four races, when are they going to start concerntrating on next yr’s car??? March 2011?? They will always be many steps behind because of their screwup this yr. THerefore, they shouldn’t be allowed to go on. The FIA really mucked things up picking some of these new teams.

  39. djw0208 says:

    I agree that the FIA selection process must be called into question. I feel sure that if the Lola or Prodrive entries had been allowed to go forward, we would already have seen them testing.

    However the other thing in the new team’s defence is that the promise of budget capping never materialised. Has this made it more expensive to get off the ground?

    1. Stevie P says:

      My thoughts have been along those lines too, namely that they (USF1) came in and went through the FIA process, when a budget cap was trying to be invoked – it made sense to them; they could hit those figures. Then the budget cap is no longer there (although teams have agreed to restrict costs!) plus backers have dropped out… and their reasons for it being viable to join the F1 circus, have slowly waned. I don’t know, I’m speculating; but seems plausible.

      StefanGP were not in the list of FIA possibles originally, were they? I think they’re trying to pull a fast one and get into F1 without going through the correct process (or incorrect process – ha ha!!).

      Windsor doesn’t strike me as the kind of person to set something up… to fail. I think that circumstances have moved around them, which is a shame… but no, their entry shouldn’t goto StefanGP just because they brought the excess kit from Toyota. And no, USF1 shouldn’t be given the first 4 races “off”… if they can’t make Bahrain, they shouldn’t be in the championship.

      Heck, next thing you know we’ll be back to drivers dropping their worst race results and only having 6 race results going towards who wins the WDC… 70′s flash-back!

      1. Patrickl says:

        USF1 was always adament that they would enter F1 with or without the budget cap. That they atually had a budget of $110 million a year or something like that.

        For teams like Campos Meta, Virgin and Lotus I do think the budget cap was an issue. They proposed their plans when the budget cap was announced and would have based their plans on that.

        USF1 does claim that they were waiting for FIA to finalise the rules though. That makes sense I guess.

      2. Stevie P says:

        Aaah well, as soon as the racing starts, they’ll quickly be forgotten…

    2. Richard says:

      If they had a viable financial plan to work within the capped budget, surely they could go ahead on that budget. OK, they might not be as competative as as teams with bigger budgets, but they would have had a car ready to run. The fact that they don’t have cars ready simply illustrates that they never had a viable financial plan in the first place.

      1. grat says:

        USF1 had the plan, had multi-year sponsor contracts lined up, but none of the money was available until the Concorde agreement was signed. So while preliminary drawings were ready August 1st, the shop didn’t exist, there was no equipment, and the majority of the employees didn’t start work until then.

        It sounds like a combination of bad timing and poor management on Ken Anderson’s part has been to blame.

    3. Peter Brito says:

      It shouldnt have made it more expensive…
      Just comparatively speaking due to not being able to compete with the bigger budget teams. Still no excuse for them not to be on the grid.

      I agree the FIA selection process should be transparent.
      Certain decisions, and moments where the FIA have overstepped their authority (If they can fine a company like McLaren $100m; and not issue Renault with any kind of fine (after committing a worse crime)demand clarification.

      The screening process should be open and available to the teams (FOTA) and the fans.

    4. Brace says:

      In short, NO.
      There is not much budget difference in this early stages. Everyone must built a car. You need bigger budget for things like testing, development race during the season, R&D and stuff like.

      They simply had to make a car.
      No matter the FiA’s imposed budget, making a car is making a car, and it has it’s price no matter how much money you have for the entire season.

    5. Phil C says:

      I doubt it, Virgin have stated that they’ll be running on the Budget Capped figure this season. Just because all the teams can spend what they like doesn’t mean USF1 have to too

  40. Henry says:

    Does anyone know why Bridgestone would refuse to supply them tyres? yes, they dont have to under any agreement, but surely if stefan were willing to pay for them then it would not really be much of an issure for bridgestone, just ship them over? or am I very wrong?

    p.s. I’m not sure if i like this new format when it comes to comments why the change? still love the blog as always.

  41. Bojan says:

    Being from Serbia, I must admit that it puzzles me that everybody is calling Stefan GP “serbian” team, because it obviously cannot be. The only “serbian” part is Mr. Stefanovic, and this is also questionable because nobody here has a clue who he is or where his money comes from? I mean, believe me, we have our fair share of tabloid papers, but still there is no single story in Serbian press about this mysterious guy, except the translated news from websites like this one. And we are small country, everyone knows everybody and everything. Therefore, please stop calling Stefan GP “serbian” and instead dig a little bit more about who Mr. Stefanovic really is.
    And one last thing – if he is really calling his team “serbian” – please ask him why he isn’t considering Milos Pavlovic for one race seat – the only half decent Serbian driver we ever had…

    1. Ieuan says:

      Because he is rubbish.

      Force India do not run an Indian. Ferrari are Italian, they run a Spaniard and Brazilian. The driver has to be good enough in the first place.

      If he wants to call the team Serbian (and he has done so) then that’s up to him and we will repeat it.

      1. Bojan says:

        Whether Milos is rubish or not (remember Takagi for instance, or should I mention Luca?) is very questionable since he never had funds to be in a good car in the last couple of seasons. The more important question is what is “serbian” in Mr. Stefanovic’s team?

      2. Ieuan says:

        If he was good enough he would get a decent drive in a junior series at least. As for what is Serbian, the owner is!

    2. mike from medellin es joto says:

      may be he is bosnian.

      1. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

        James, this person continually posts under insulting Spanish pseudonyms. His latest one is “Mike from Medellin es Joto” translates to Mike from Medellin is gay!!

        Given the above, I am concerned that people will confuse his posts with mine.

        Is there any way filtering out these types of internet “trolls” that are only here to disrupt? Perhaps blocking IP addresses?

        I’m really sorry bringing this up in a public forum, but the atmosphere here is normally very good and nothing normally ever gets personal…it should only be about F1.

      2. James Allen says:

        Of course. We will deal with it.

    3. Patrickl says:

      I suggest you read the interview he gave to Autosport. He claims that part of the team will be housed in Serbia.

      Besides if the team is registered under Serbian nationality then it is Serbian. Not much we can do about it.

      1. Bojan says:

        I actually read it, but:

        Red is not Serbian colour (red, blue and white are). Yes, national football team plays in red shirts, but with blue shorts and white socks, mimicking the flag colors. But the basketball team plays only in blue (white is reserve). I have never ever read that the red is our national colour.

        About the “people he has in Serbia”

        Who are those people? What are they doing? Surely they are not involved in the car. My guess is – a secretary and probably some kind of PR. And that is why it is “serbian” team?!
        What kind of engineering that he can do here? Even our laughing stock auto company Zastava was sold to FIAT. Please don’t tell me that he has engineers involved in creating YUGO working on his car?

        The bottom line is – stop writing about the “serbian” F1 team, because it is neither “serbian” nor F1 team. It will never happen…

      2. Patrickl says:

        Stefan GP is saying its a Serbian team. What are we supposed to say then? A team of origins unkown? That sounds way to much “American Wrestling”

  42. Pierre says:

    James,
    What do you know about this 2010 ex-Toyota car? If they designed it from what they learned from last year’s car, I’m not saying it is a winning car, but it should not be a bad one, no?
    So even if rules are rules and StefanGP cannot get a slot because it has not an entry, even if I still do not understand where the money comes from, even if we have not seen much about StefanGP team, the question is how much Stefan GP (with an ex well established team car) is a threat for Virgin, Lotus and “Campos”? And so how much having Stefan GP racing would discredit Mosley and FIA’s strategy to push for new teams?

    1. James Allen says:

      I think it is quite good. I’ve spoken to some engineers who worked it and they say they had some great stuff there – they would say that wouldn’t they? But there is no reason to believe it would have been anything significantly better than last year’s car. They always struggled to build a consistent car across a whole season

      1. Andy C says:

        Absolutely. I bet a lot of the new teams would take a car whos performance was blinding in some races and average in others.

        Toyota were never able to deliver a consistent race winning, high point scoring car, but as a start point for a new team that wouldnt be a bad place to start.

        The telling point is, would they have any real ability to develop the car throughout the season.

        James,
        did I read somewhere that they had hired Mike Coughlan?

      2. James Allen says:

        That is right. I was also told Dave Ryan, but not sure that’s true. Seeing Dave tomorrow so I’ll find out

      3. SplinterBoy says:

        James, If you’re seeing Dave Ryan tomorrow will you be getting his side of the story to the whole Lewis/Lie Gate Scandal?…..That would make fascinating reading as i have yet to see any Q&As with him since his Mc sacking!

  43. NIshant Virmani says:

    I really hope the FIA is feeling bad now. They allowed USF1 and Campos but rejected Prodrive and Stefan GP amongst other teams and now look where they have got!

    Sure i guess we will never know if Prodrive would have been able to get a car on time but Stefan GP sure did even if it is a Toyota. The Toyota last year wasn’t THAT dreadful, there were many cars which were worse and i think it will be a great building block for the Stefan GP team.

    1. Ieuan says:

      Again, ProDrive screwed up last time, they will never get another chance and rightly so.

      Stefan GP did not even apply, they simply turned up late and bought Toyota’s cars and are now trying to bully their way onto the grid.

    2. Phil C says:

      If i recall correctly – Lola already had a car designed!

      1. Patrickl says:

        USF1 had a car designed too. They just had some difficulties manufacturing it :)

  44. Ben G says:

    It wasn’t the tyres that did it for Stefan, but the fact that Toyota have been asked to rebuild the car thanks to a product recall.

    Last year, in a bid to make their car competitive, they installed a special accelerator, which stuck open when Jarno and Timo lifted off. But owing to a calamitous mistake in the factory, the sticking accelerator was installed in their road car range by mistake.

    Now, with Ralf and Jacques lined up, Stefan has asked Toyota to remove the brakes instead.

    1. Neil says:

      very good.

  45. Stoyan says:

    Does anyone sees any proff of Stefan GP team existence? Branded car, car model, branded shirt, pencils, something???

    1. Clinton says:

      … because a branded pencil is the best proof there is!!

    2. Paul says:

      even the address on their website appears to only be a postbox address. Google earth puts it bang central in Belgrade. no place for an F1 factory surely? unless they are using the Toyota factory in Germany?

    3. mike from medellin es joto says:

      berni’s silence is the best proof of the team existence.
      Otherwise he would have mada an interview on the times clearing the thing.

    4. Brace says:

      You like branding, don’t you? :)
      Seriously, why would they need branded shirts and pencils?

    5. Phil C says:

      a website, photos, journalists being told that the car has been fired up, a story from both them and toyota as to the sale of the car…

      It takes more than just t-shirts and pencils to prove something exists!

      1. Stoyan says:

        Photos of what??? Did U see any facility behind the thing called Stefan GP? For your information, address that appear on official website is one old ruined factory building in center of Belgrade called Zvezdara…
        At least, on US F1 site U can saw footage about building a car nose :)

      2. Phil C says:

        I never said photos of the facility – Photos of the main team together, Photos of him with the people from Toyota, and the Toyota car…

        You said proof that the team exists, not that they’ve got anything built!

  46. parafone says:

    I really don’t care for USF1 or Stefan GP at all. They both seem like ill-conceived plans for publicity.

    So then it’s surprising to see so many people claiming Stefan GP as the Second Coming of Brawn or something equally ridiculous.

    What’s to say the money won’t dry up for the *LAST* 4 races? Hiring the man at the centre of Spygate? Shouting about how they’re bringing in an F1 champ from 13 years ago?

    Supposedly Stefan had tried to get an entry for 2009 – and were politely rejected. What car were they planning to have then?

    And why did it take Stefan so long to get an agreement with Toyota. The deal was done on 30th January 2010, if they had planned to have a serious entry in 2010 couldn’t they have done it sooner?

    Can we please just move on from these clowns of USF1 and Stefan and get some proper teams in! The likes of Prodrive would be much better prepared.

    1. Patrickl says:

      You mean clowns like Prodrive who never showed up the previous time they got their license?

      Why should FIA replace one failed team with another failed team?

  47. pmj says:

    Check out this article on the Ferrari website:-

    http://www.ferrari.com/English/News/Pages/100222_GR_Per_chi_suona_la_campana.aspx

    It sums up the situation pretty well (and in a bluntly honest fashion too!).

  48. Gareth says:

    Exactly what needed to be said!!

  49. Silverstoned says:

    Lawyers all over the world must be salivating like mad at the prospects this season will bring.
    Time for Bernie and Todt to start tempting the manufacturers back?

  50. Duncan says:

    The main problem with USF1 is Ken Anderson. The facilities and staff necessary for a competitive F1 effort do exist in North America. The problem with the concept was that the guy responsible for getting the cars designed and built is simply not a guy who can deliver at that level. He has had similar failures in the past (the Falcon Indycar chassis), and at this point is the single biggest roadblock for the team. How you get him out of the picture though I don’t know.

  51. Tim says:

    I have read several of the internet articles and forum posts over the last few weeks regarding USF1, Stefan GP and what the FIA should do regarding each entity.  There has been some articles/posts that were very well written and thought out while others have been just plain laughable.  The difference in the two sides for me typically hinges on facts (or lack thereof) in the message.

    For example, I’ve read several messages that imply that the FIA didn’t do their due diligence with the new entrants for 2010.  Specifically . . . USF1 and Campos.  The first question I’d like to ask is what they base this type of statement on.  Is this just the individuals perception or do they have solid evidence and/or concrete facts to back up their comments.  I may have missed it somewhere, but did the FIA actually publish their selection process methods or criteria?  If this type of information has not been provided to us, how can we say that the FIA didn’t do it’s job correctly.  We can speculate all day long about this particular situation, but unless we have the facts, all we are left with is opinion.

    There also appears to be a lot of folks jumping on the Stefan GP bandwagon.  Some are going as far to say just give them USF1′s grid slot.  I have to chuckle when I read comments like that.  Other than the fact that this individual has purchased the assets of Toyota and has the 2010 car that Toyota would have run, what else do we really know about this guy (or his team)?  Not much.  Would this team be in it for the long haul anymore than USF1or Campos?  I can’t say yes to that based on what facts I know and I’d bet the FIA couldn’t either.  Plus, can you imagine the number of lawsuits that the FIA would receive from the others that weren’t granted an entry for 2010.  I’d also have to believe that it would be somewhat difficult to just take away a team’s grid slot and give it to another team.  But, I’ve been wrong before.

    My suggestion at this point is to sit back, relax, and let this situation play itself out.  It will are sort itself out in due time.  Plus, can anyone truthfully say they are not going to watch the races unless their is a full field of cars?  I can’t say that because their are to many other story lines to follow this season.

    Just one man’s observation for what it’s worth.

  52. Peter says:

    Manifacturers have been critisised a lot recently for pulling-out, now it seems that the new small-private teams golden era is not trouble free either. They have struggling even before starting the season. Small teams will come and go all the time.

  53. Ieuan says:

    USF1 should be allowed the time to get themselves ready, if that means missing the first four races (four expensive ones in Asia) then so be it.

    When the teams were picked there was some surprise yes but you have to remember that things have changed since then. Sponsors who were happy to put in when there was a £40m budget cap are simply not willing to do so now that there isnt one. Simply put £40m will not get you off the back row so why invest if your cars will be at the back all year?

    At the time the places were awarded all that was in place was promises, no investment was confirmed because no-one would sign a check without a slot guarenteed, this would have been the same for any new team and ther is no guarentee that Lola or ProDrive (who failed once before) would have done any better.

    Stefan GP meanwhile did nto even bother to apply, presumably thinking that they wouldn’t get in. Instead they have simply poached the Toyota chassis and are now trying to bully their way onto the grid. If the FIA allow this to happen then they set a dangerous precedent of teams being able to bypass it’s own selection process, whether the selection was correct or not makes no difference.

    I’d rather see 24 cars on teh grid for our raes with USF1 possibly making it to Spain. If they don’t then there should be no replacement and the slot should go back up for grabs for 2011 at which point Stefan should have a good case if they apply properly.

    Any otehr course of decision will just led to the FIA looking weak.

    1. James Allen says:

      Stefan did apply and was annoyed when he didn’t get an entry

      1. Stoyan says:

        Stefan GP is one big bluff!

      2. Patrickl says:

        Indeed. He actually went to court because he felt he was rejected unfairly. The court didn’t see it his way …

  54. MattX says:

    James, can you shed any light as to how individuals with many years F1 experience can get it so wrong? It’s one thing to “big up” your situation for the media, but the stories from the Campos situation are astonishing. How can someone that has run successful racing teams in the past not be more organised?
    I always thought Mike Gascoyne (Lotus) was over rated as the steps he described to set up a team seemed so blatantly obvious why even talk about them. (i.e. work out when the car needs to be running, and available for various tests and milestones and then work back from there to your start point – and get cracking.)USF1 and Campos just seemed to have got some guys in a shed and let them get on with it – and are now wondering why nothing is ready…. Sorry Mike, my belief that F1 would entirely composed of Chapmans, Ferraris and Dennis’s is sorely out of kilter with the reality…

  55. Flintelli says:

    James, It must be costing Stefan GP a small fortune to be shipping containers here and there on the off chance the FIA can say – yeah go on then! we were wrong about USF1… have a slot?

    Firstly the FIA wont want to look stupid that they cant even sucessfully bring new teams into the sport and also why would you spend so much money on trying to attend the first race if you didn’t have any inside knowledge? Bernie must be keen to get them on the grid – otherwise….whats the point???

  56. Paul says:

    In this melee, i cannot help but think a two teir F1 would solve much of the issues.

    Campos, USF1 and maybe Stefan are hamstrung to some extent by the requirements in place for two cars theire fore doubling up on engines, drivers and all the parafanalia that goes around it.

    A privateer team entry with the provision for 1 car and their own points table really apeals to me.

    Bernie is far too keen to get more venues/tracks on board than getting any body to race on them!

    Brawn was an amazing story in 2009 but lets not get carried away. The season was built on the rear diffuser not the fact that theye were a “new” team. We cannot expect new teams to just hop on board with the current regulations.

    I think a major rethink is in order before we have another Andrea Moda on our hands and the embarrasment that it brings to F1.

  57. DNH says:

    James not sure if you have seen this rather “direct” article on the official Ferrari website:
    http://www.ferrari.com/English/News/Pages/100222_GR_Per_chi_suona_la_campana.aspx

  58. Richard says:

    The season has already started with the official test sessions. Two teams were not ready for testing. Surely it would be unsafe for those teams to go straight into racing, whether it be the first or fourth race, without the cars having been properly tested. Capos and USF1 have already failed to be ready and should be declare out now. A great pity to have only 11 teams when we were expecting 13 but that’s how it has to be now. Although Stefan GP have a car, they also have not done any testing.

    1. Patrickl says:

      Indeed. I think teams should be forced to show up for these tests or face losing their license.

  59. Rick M., Toronto says:

    I miss you on the race broadcasts very much. I think you and Martin were the best ever. I also enjoy your web site with your tremendous insight. So, with that in mind, I wonder if the following may be worth a few column inches. I don’t expect a direct answer. I am wondering why Bernie seems to not give a rats ass if USF1 doesn’t make it, and has so often been quoted negatively regarding it’s health and future. Since his comments carry some considerable weight, it must work against all that the team is trying to do. He has helped so many others before, and there are a lot of fans and considerable media attention that could be gained. Not to mention the attraction of more US sponsorship.

    But, why? He seemed supportive last year. The US is an important market that the remaining manufacturers and many marketing partners do business in the US. Is it the added pressure to hold a race in the US, perhaps at the expense of a more lucrative venue that is at the heart of this? It’s all I can surmise.

    1. James Allen says:

      He was supportive of it last year, because it’s a good idea. But like anything in F1 you have to deliver…a Japanese driver in a Japanese car is a good thing, but only if he’s winning. Likewise a US F1 team is a good thing for F1, provided it is there, working hard to promote the sport in the US and leveraging the position of a man like Chad Hurley via You Tube to improve F1. That’s not been happening

  60. Hacklerf says:

    Stefan, have a car, USF1 have nothing.

    This really is the reality of it, and its just a mater of time before they get the entries switched

    1. Patrickl says:

      Glad to see someone here has read the contracts …

  61. Pierre says:

    Just red and article into “Les Echos” (french economic leader newspaper) and I wonder how much this relates to this topic!!!
    IMF has just agreed to provide the 3rd part of the April 2009 3 billion euros loan promissed to the Serbian government. This 3rd part is 350 million euros and Serbian government should get it end of March… not in time for the first race!!!!!!!

  62. Mike says:

    You’re quoted on here James.

    http://www.stefangp.wordpress.com

    For my monies worth, the FIA needs to get this sorted by the end of the week. No more nonsense. I thought that Todt was going to be a cut and thrust man and get things done without any dilly-dallying.

  63. F1ART says:

    “USF1 team took its first backwards step today when it was forced to call off its planned test in Portugal due to a lack of tyres”

    Bet they wish that was the case!

    Good luck Stefan GP at least the car should be half decent, and with the secrets ex McLaren designer Mike Coughlan will have at home he can take the car foward!

  64. jacktors says:

    All fingers point at the FIA. I agree with the Ferrari statements…thanks Mosley.

  65. Peter Brito says:

    I find it unbelievable that Campos and USF1 have been allowed to fall so far behind schedule…
    Especially when there were far more experienced teams in the running for the grid slots this year (Lola, Prodrive).
    How can Bernie deny entry to Prodrive, they would’ve raced under the Aston Martin banner courtesy of David Richards; surely that would’ve been a good PR story for F1; amidst all the manufacturers dropping out!

    James – Do you know of any bad blood between David Richards and Bernie? Anything that may explain this ridiculous situation F1 has thrust itself into.
    Or is it more the case of how Ferrari today accused Max Mosley of a “holy war” against the established teams?

    1. James Allen says:

      Not sure Richards was quite ready at the time the 2010 entries needed to be in, especially engine wise.

      1. Peter Brito says:

        Surely someone who was awarded a CBE for his services to motorsport is more trustworthy than an unknown entry.

        I was under the impression that Prodrive already had an agreement to use Mercedes engines for the 2010 season; at least that was what was submitted in their entry…

        Either way they had the facilities to get a car on the grid… which is more than can be said for Campos GP or USF1.

  66. Tom Adams says:

    This is all starting to smell like rotten fish.. come on FIA/ Bernie sort this mess out.
    Either USF1 are IN or they are OUT. Same with Campos for that matter. They had time to be up to speed, if whatever reason it didnt work out.. time to move on. Let Stefan have a shot.

  67. Olivier says:

    … oh my goodness gracious! This is getting hilarious. It is time for the FIA to step in and invite USF1, Campos and StefanGP to enter the application process for the 2011 season.

    I am reading stories that Bernie is (1) behind the rescue of Campos and (2) pushing for StefanGP. If so, he is truly making a fool of himself and F1.

    It also does not make sense to demand a long term commitment from USF1 while Campos and StefanGP run on Bernie’s pocket money? How sustainable is that?

  68. Mitori says:

    Why isn’t there any comment from FIA, Ecclestone and Todd on this matter. Did they lost there voice after the mud fight from last months.. Fans want to know whats happening.
    ( as you know James! thanks for that!! )

  69. Jorge Alvear says:

    It’s a shame really that Prodrive, which has the infrastructure in place, were not permitted to enter a team because they did not commit to Cosworth engines, from what I understand. At least Lotus looks like a keeper, so one of the new teams should last. We shall see about Virgin. Soon enough the FIA will have to allow more new teams to apply since USF1 and probably Campos Meta will wash out, leaving only eighteen cars on the grid, possibly twenty if Virgin sticks around.

    1. Alex says:

      Without USF1 and Campos, there will be 22 cars on the grid this year.

      1. Matt A says:

        USF1 will not make it on the grid why bother entering if they can’t build the car and have the money

  70. John F says:

    James, how big do you think is the damage to Peter Windsors reputation now?

    Will he be able to go back working as a TV presenter and journalist when all this is over?

    There is a perception that USF1 was telling a lot of Fairy-tales over the last months (one could almost accuse them of lying, Ferrari hints at this in their latest thoughts on this subject).

    Surely this is not something a journalist or TV person wants to be associated with?

    1. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

      I came across this video from YouTube with Peter Windsor…it made me laugh a bit!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFvPSwzOio8&feature=PlayList&p=4C014A76265FA224&index=24

      The first 38 secs are in Spanish and then Windsor starts talking all sorts of technobabble regarding the talent of Jose Maria Lopez…..he conveniently forgets to mention the $$$ that comes with this talent.

      PW talks about analysing data regarding the “suppleness of hand and foot movements” and praises JML about the “suppleness of his hand movements”!!

      It made me smile quite a bit….he seems to over-intellectualise the art of driving.

      He normally goes on and on about friction circles etc. I’m sure that if you asked Alonso or Hamilton or Schumacher about their friction circles they would raise their eyebrows in bewilderment!!

      Hmmmmm….I thought that it was all about the lap time at the end of the day.

  71. Stephen says:

    I find it a little odd that Stefan GP couldn’t get tyres from somewhere… Didn’t Ferrari run one of their cars on GP2 rubber to circumvent one of the testing restrictions? As long as it fits and is of a decent performance standard they can at least do some systems checks and make sure the thing points in the right direction.

    Of course, it could be that if they’d gone tyres they would have the more embarrasing situation to explain of not having anyone to drive the car…

    I must admit I’m surprised USF1 didn’t do a better job of getting things done when they were supposed to be showing how well America can do things. Campos on the other hand I didn’t think should have had a slot at all and either way it’s a real shame Prodrive were refused again…

    I really do think that customer cars is the way to go in F1. You can bleat all you like about keeping it on the cutting edge but only so many companies can afford to be on the cutting edge so let the Ferraris, Mercedes and McLarens of this world fight it out for the overall crown but let the smaller teams buy a chassis in and keep the grid numbers up.

  72. Bald Eagle 76 says:

    Stunning analysis, Buck. You sure have all us Americans figured out. Please work on your grammar & proof read your reply before you post it, so the rest of us, including the Americans you so love, can try to understand what the hell you are saying. I’m glad Canada is getting their GP back. It should have never been removed from the calendar. I’m also glad that the USA throttled Canada 5-3 the other day. We’re taking gold in your backyard.

  73. IronMike72 says:

    As a long time F-1 fan and an American I’ll say this. As much as we would like to see USF1 succeed at some point in time you’ve just gotta make a call. For what ever reason, and one has to think it has to do with a lot more than sponsorship, it just isn’t gonna work out.

    Note to Ken & Peter:

    We appreciate the effort, it isn’t going to happen. Stop embarrasing us and withdraw until you can be REALLY ready and reasonably competitive.

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