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Stefan GP breathing down Campos’ neck
Stefan GP breathing down Campos’ neck
Posted By: James Allen  |  02 Feb 2010   |  7:44 pm GMT  |  135 comments

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.

Picture 43
“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.

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AFter all that rigamarole and fuss about carefully vetting all the teams that wanted into F1 this shoot-from-the-hip deal with Stefan is just silly.

WTF is Bernie smoking??


I think Stefan GP actually seems a little sinister. They’re essentially hoping that one of the other teams goes bust. And they seem to be heaping pressure on them and intimidating them. Doesn’t seem particularly endearing to me. I personally think that the FIA’s actually done a fairly good job. In the ‘good old days’, F1 tended to have a few smaller teams lapping a few seconds slower than the others. It doesn’t damage F1’s credibility, another couple of hundred people have jobs, people get to see a race with a few more cars. F1 needs this sort of diversity, from the all-out tension of the front runners to the rising stars of the midfield to the charming minnows trying to finish the race. In my opinion, of course.


What amazes me about this whole business it that here we are, mere weeks from the beginning of the season, and Campos may not even have a car for the opening race. It baffles me why they were allowed into the 2010 F1 championship by the FIA, if their financial base was so weak! Surely the FIA had to have looked into the economic viability of teams such as Campos before excepting their entry into the championship?

If Stefan Gp have the cash behind them, and the techinical nouse, then they should be allowed as entrants in the place of Adrian Campo’s team.

Personally, I think that is exactly what is going to happen. Toyota, although not involved as a team anymore, will remain in F1 as an engine supplier to Stefan Gp, with Stefan Gp using the 2010 Toyota chassis as Brawn Gp did last year with the Honda chassis.

Atleast, that is what I am hoping will happen.


cool, looking forward to seeing their test in portugal, even if it is going to be just Nakajima going around on his own.

how about a forumla one division 2 in 2011 for more of these aspiring hopefuls?

The Kitchen Cynic

I wonder if there’s an old Prost nosecone or two in that container…?


Regards 2’nd paragraph and Stefan sending equipment to Behrain. In “1973” Mo Nunn sent our Ensign to the French GP after being denied entry. Patitioned French Court on Friday to halt qualifing. Pitition granted, Ensign entry was accepted.


Very cool, thanks for that insight


Any truth in the rumours that Stephan GP has bought the Campos Chassis from Dallara so they inherit their grid slot? (No cars, no grid slot i guess…)


Seems an odd move as SGP has Toyota’s chassis… would it be purely a blocking move?


Bruno Senna must be seriously worried about the Campos team. It would be a shame to see him miss out on a race drive this year if the team collapses, and even if they do compete, I can’t see them beating anybody apart from USF1, depending on which team has the quickest rentadrivers…If Stefan do get an entry and bring back Nakajima I would be disappointed. He didn’t show much speed over two seasons at Williams…would be nice to see teams choosing drivers based on talent not nationality or sponsors, but I guess there’s no choice sometimes. I can’t believe the FIA turned down Prodrive and chose Campos…


Nakajima is a Toyota man – that’s why he drove the Toyota powered Williams. My understanding is that he came as part of the package for Stefan GP to buy Toyota’s designs.

Interesting aside to this – as I have heard elsewhere – If they don’t make the 2010 grid, their cars will be free to test whenever they like. If a team decides to replace a driver mid-season, can you see them asking to borrow a car and some track time, to get them up to speed in an F1 car? Could be a nice earner!


You know I am all for the new teams coming in and bringing some personality to the proceedings, but I don’t think Stefan GP should be allowed to carry on like this. I would be disappointed if they got onto the grid just by gerrymandering!

F1 is a ruthless business, but behaving like the cuckoo in the nest and pushing out the weaker birds before they can fly is unpallatable to say the least.

I also find the thought of employing Coughlan and Ryan to manage the team to be in poor taste. What next, NPJ to drive? That is not the Brazilian F1 dynasty I want to see back on the grid.


There are rumours flying around the net at the moment that Campos is still behind with payments to Dallara and that Stefan GP are to step in an buy the intellectual rights to the car leaving Campos without a chassis.

Quote: http://www.autoweek.com/article/20100202/F1/100209977

Speed TV.com are reporting the same.

Can you enlighten us further James?


I am from South Africa, and Teixiera is bad news for F1!

lots of promises, not too much behind the words! A shark!


So if Stefan GP were actually handed a place on the grid for this season, does that make them one of the ‘new’ teams or one of the ‘old’ teams as they have taken over the Toyota engine and chassis?

If they are classed as a ‘new’ team, will Bernie make them rip out their Toyota engine and bung in a Cosworth before they are allowed to race?


I am arguing the toss on new teams..

my feeling is that Stefan would be a new team, as they have purchased the car, and be getting tech support from Toyota, however,they will be ruuning with new management, new staff, new factory..

I hate when people talked about Brawn as a new team.. what was new about it?? new name, same boss, same factory, same staff, Brawn was NEVER a new team, and Sauber is the same, they are NOT a new team.


I’ve got some tools and spare garage space if someone has flat deck. Are those arrows chassis still available.

Someone ring Super Aguri…

I think we’ve got a sporting chance against the teams who have been given enteries.

Aside from Lotus who really is the only serious entrant I think.



I dont know if anyone has mentioned this but if this all works out, as far as i am aware Schumacher will become the first F1 driver ever to race against father and son, as he raced against Satoru Nakajima in the 1991 Belgian GP.

Have i missed another time this has happend? Can anyone think of another example of this?


Speaking of no shows – what do you make of Virgin’s launch?


Must new teams still post a substantial bond with the FIA?

It’s hard to believe that the existence of some of the new participants is still up in the air – kind of makes a mockery of the whole selection process.

Especially when you consider some of the other contenders who pitched for a spot on the grid, e.g. Prodrive.

Hopefully it’s merely a case of one step backward, and then (eventually) 2 steps forward.

F1 could do without another batch of Mastercard Lola, Forti Corse and dare I say Andrea Moda.


Campos… Customer chassis that they can barely afford, customer engines that they can barely afford and a promising young driver who’s career they can destroy…

I think Campos could be a disasterous cock up of Andrea Moda Formula proportions!


If the FIA had played things straight up and selected teams that always have, are, and always will be ready to race (Prodrive and Lola come to mind), instead of forcing Cosworth engines down the throats of unworthy entrants, none of this would be happening.

Allowing three no-shows is about as bush league as things can get. How does the FIA get away with this stuff?



Remind me, what happened to Lola in 1997? Something like, they turned up in Austraila, failed to qualify, then promptly ran out of money and never turned up to race again.

Doesn’t strike me as a comany to be trusted in F1.


It pretty much killed the parent company off too for a few years

As I remember it, Mastercard wanted to launch an F1 Club, which would bring money in to which they would then supply the team. Therefore they pushed Lola to be ready to early… The car wasn’t even symetrical from what I recall! Then after failing to qualify (about 7 seconds off the pace I think) the club didn’t take off and Mastercard pulled the plug.

The first worrying sign should have been signing Ricardo Rosset as lead driver!

I really hope if Campos don’t make the grid, Stefan GP buy Senna’s contract


I’d like that too, but I think that it’s not an option. Toyota and Bernie have already pretty much chosen Kazuki Nakajima and Ralf Schumacher as StefanGP drivers if they’re to race at all.


Good point, Alex. That was a disaster for Lola and Mastercard. But Lola is an established outfit with a long history of successful racing…a better bet, I think, than any of the four teams that got in.


Re: alex

That wasn’t really the fault of Lola, that was mainly the bullying of their main sponsor, Mastercard. At the 11th hour (Nov 96) they demanded that Lola participate in the 97 season or they would cease funding. Lola was planning to enter in 1998.

Thus they had to design and build a car within a matter of months. And most of us know the rest.


What, Mosley’s FIA do it right? Are you crazy 🙂


James, I know this is off tangent for the thread, but I have read on Autosport.com that the teams have agreed to new rules for the diffusers for 2011, banning double diffusers and lowering the height of the diffuser from 175mm to 125mm.

I thought the idea was to make racing better by allowing cars to follow closer and therefore allow more overtaking, but I think that this new rule will make it harder for cars to follow..

The problem with the cars at the moment is still that too mouch of the grip is aerodynamic, and too much of that is produced by the upper surfaces of the car (Wings, bodywork) and that theses surfaces do not produce as much downforce in the dirty air when following another car.

Surely what they need to do is,

a: make tyres LARGER, therefore increasing the mechanical grip of tyre on road.

b: make wings SMALLER, decreasing the downforce produced by the upper surfaces of the car

c: make the cars flat bottomed again (ie early ’94 spec) with big diffusers, as the floor of the car is affected much less by the turbulence of following another car.

I believe GP2 cars have smaller wings, and flat bottoms, and race much more closely…


Nope – I wholeheartedly agree with this and would welcome its return.


This does raise isssues regarding a teams commitment to F1. Stefan GP may have a very amateur looking website, but they seem to have the car and the nous, which is probably what teams like Minardi had all those years ago.

But thing with Stefan is that with coughlan and that involved, and now the rumour of them buying up the Dallara chasis in order to force out Campos… I can’t help but envision Arthur Daley and Terry McCann in their garage!


This agreement that the new teams can miss races is pretty disgraceful. As someone who will be heading over to Melbourne for the race there, I feel like I will get short changed by potentially having 6 (or maybe even more!) less cars on the grid.

How can these teams be deemed fit to be in F1 if they cannot even make the first race?


Hi James,

Would it be possible for StefanGP to race in the races that the other entrants decide to skip?

If 3 other teams choose not to race then StefanGP could theoretically compete in 9 races.

It could make things interesting and really take F1 back to it’s early days.

And, regarding Ferrari and A1GP, didn’t Teixeira claim that Ferrari didn’t uphold a part of their agreement? I cannot remember exactly what but find it odd that Ferrari hasn’t taken more serious steps.


I really cannot see that. It’s so far away from where F1 has got to


Hmmm. Like I said the other day, pragmatism is taking over here.

I suspect that Forces within CVC proper (NOT Bernie himself, at least not willingly); Jean Todt; the teams; and track owners/promoters (in the newer venues, especially, and in new markets like Russia, that Bernie wants to crack) have concluded that they have to protect their investment. And they’ve apparently decided on the Big Grid, bigger than we’ve seen in the last 20 years, as the best way to do that.

With the three for free/bye system now in place, there will likely be a system put in place to keep the grid as full as possible when those byes are used. One way to do that would be via a reserve team (or teams), given a conditional entry that activates only when another team uses one of its three bye weeks.

Stefan GP appears to be in position to do that, but who else is prepared? Will Stefan be THE reserve team, the designated fill-in when another team uses a bye? Will Prodrive join them on a reserve list (a bit obvious perhaps, but they’re always nearby in these discussions), maybe if they’re given last year’s Toro Rosso to modify? What happens if more than one team uses a bye on a given week? Will the regular teams be required to have spare cars available at each round so that GP2 teams (who will be at the GP rounds anyway, and have proven that they can run at an international professional standard) can be called up as reserves as needed?

Will an FIA tender be issued for some (currently non-F1 participating) constructor to provide some spec/generic F1 car to take a standard spec Cosworth – a pool of cars and engines available for use at each race – ineligible for Constructors points, but permitting the grid to be filled, and allowing (maybe) for Driver’s points?

All of these possibilities go against the grain of Bernie’s philosophy and “the spirit of Formula 1.” Maybe so. But “the spirit of Formula 1” has changed often enough over the years.

In the Piranha Club, you have to adapt or die. Looks like they’re adapting. Or going off their rockers.


So if they’re shipping gear they must have drivers yes? Anyone know who they are?

Also, if Stefan does wait out the 2010 season testing, how is 2011 going to be any different?

Seems to me, they are going to need one of the existing teams to fold completely , no new owners to be found for it, before they’re able to enter. (baring an increase in grid size)


They say they have drivers, one already has 2 years experience in F1.

The talk is that as part of the deal to use the Toyota cars and engines, and all the data, the team had to sign Kazuki Nakajima


Gear? They say they have shipped a 40 foot container. How much gear is that?


I’ve heard they’ve made a 40 foot car so they can be at least a second slower and still get the nose across the line first.

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