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FIA throws open the door for the final team slot on the F1 grid
FIA throws open the door for the final team slot on the F1 grid
Posted By: James Allen  |  19 Mar 2010   |  6:03 pm GMT  |  81 comments

The FIA has today announced that the application process for teams wishing to apply for the 13th and final slot on the F1 grid is now open and will close on 15 April. This is the slot created by the failure of USF1 to make it this season.

Teams who wish to race in the 2011 and 2012 seasons must submit an expression of interest before then. The FIA will then undertake a process of due diligence. After 2012 there will be a new Concorde Agreement, but clearly any team which is accepted and which signs the existing Concorde Agreement will be part of the negotiation process for the next one.

This promises to be a hard fought and painful process as the teams will be looking for a far greater share of the commercial revenues of the sport than the 50% they currently receive. That negotiation will start at some point in 2011 and will get messy.

According to the FIA’s statement, teams who wish apply for the 13th slot must demonstrate to the FIA,

“(a) the technical ability and resources of the team;
(b) the ability of the team to raise and maintain sufficient funding to allow participation;
(c) the team’s experience and human resources;
(d) the FIA’s assessment of the value that the candidate may bring to the Championship as a whole. ”

The FIA anticipate that formal entries will need to be in by the end of June and they expect to announce the winner in July.

Stefan GP are the most proactive team knocking on the door and it is noticeable how much less bombastic they have become in the last few weeks since they failed to get USF1’s slot in Bahrain. They have stopped putting out messages and have kept their head down, which indicates that they have finally understood how this process works and are serious about being considered for the slot next time.

Prodrive is another team with F1 aspirations, as a vehicle for promoting its Aston Martin brand and there are bound to be others who failed to make the cut last time.

However the process is likely to be more closely scrutinised this time following the failure of the USF1 team, which is known to have greatly irritated the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone. This is also a source of embarrassment for American Nick Craw, one of Jean Todt’s key men in the FIA senior management, who championed their candidacy and must feel very let down by Ken Anderson and Peter Windsor.

Meanwhile today the F1 teams’ association FOTA came out strongly in support of the FIA’s ‘Make Roads Safe’ Campaign. All the F1 teams and their drivers will carry the branding of the campaign, which aims to save around 5 million lives on the roads in the coming years.

This campaign is part of the FIA’s strategy for making F1 relevant to modern society and leveraging it’s enormous communication power via its global media platform.

It is also central to the strategy for keeping Bridgestone in F1, by offering them the chance to be central to the promotion which will come from it.

It’s all about adding value to Bridgestone’s involvement in the sport. Bridgestone is in a very strong negotiating position, with little time left for another company to develop an F1 tyre before the 2011 season.

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James a quick comment about Stefan GP. After much checking into their company (which is a cover) they ahve the cash and the resources available. Even if they have ended their toyota relationship, Lola or Dallara would build them a chassis no problems. However do you think that if they got rid of Mike Coughlan from the team (ex McLaren) that the FIa woudl welcome them in as the USf1 replacemet. I can imagine all the F1 teams saying no to the entry whilst he on the team.

Interesting scenario!


Please, I hope the FIA (read: Jean Todt) will be wise and not select Prodrive or USF1 for the 2011 slot. They have proven in the past that they are incapable of running an F1 team the way you’re supposed to run one. I think the obvious best candidate would be Lola. They already designed a car!

I’m also still hoping that Stefan will make the grid sometime, but without Toyota support it looks increasingly unlikely.


Yeah, I read that SGP lost the Toyota cars or the support from Toyota?

So that would mean the only thing “they” had going for “him” is now gone. Maybe that’s why he is so quiet?

Also that would explain why he was so active before when everyone could see it was useles. He needed to get the cars on the grid or lose them?


I hope there is some behind-the-scenes talking going on with tire manufacturers? If theres not its a disaster waiting to happen next season!


Don’t worry – there’s a lot!


Funny IIRC it’s illegal to run 2 teams technically and yet we have RBR and STR and this is the first year that STR is independant and not using what was almost the same RB chassis but it’s okay for some people to use customer cars and not others? Dave Richards wants to have a team and the FIA let USF1 and HRT in before him it’s rather silly when you consider one is gone already and I expect probably HRT to be gone by seasons end.


STR’s cars were designed by Red bull Technologies, who also supplied the designs to Red Bull. STR never had a car designed by Red Bull Racing, but by a third party.

However this year the FIA stamped out this loophole, so this year the team has designed it’s own car from scratch.

As far as i’m aware it is not illegal to run two teams, but STR are technically only funded by Red Bull, they are in essence an independent team – as were Honda and Super Aguri.


If money was the only thing that mattered in F1 you think Toyota would have won a few more WCCs huh? Having the most money can’t mean anything without a solid team. The FIA selection process is long and complicated if you don’t make a large enough ‘donation’ I reckon.


I can’t help thinking that after Bahrain no one with any sense would want to get into F1. There must be better things to do with the money. Let’s hope Flavio returns, at least it would relieve the boredom.


At the end of 2009 Bridgestone were pretty adamant that they were leaving after this year. Has their attitude changed, I wonder?

What happens if they refuse to carry on, and no-one else wants to take on the supply? Do they send the gofer down to Quickfit to load up the pickup with the largest tyres they’ve got?

Or is it all in hand, now?


There is no StefanGP. Look this:

This is allegedly location of StefanGP headquarters. Come on, don’t joke with me


Well they were planning to start by using some of the Toyota infrastructure in France (lyon) initially and then they were going to move to germany. At least that is what they claimed…


So what is wrong with that…looks as good as USF!


Yep couldn’t agree more…. But you know you these things work ‘it’s just not that simple’ with the FIA

Alistair Blevins

What likely action will the FIA take (indeed are they able to?) against USF1 or it’s personnel in light of their failure to a make the grid?

Will they sanction Anderson and Windsor given that USF1 is unlikely to be a going-concern for much long, if it hasn’t gone under already.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

They can use Jose Maria Lopez’s money to pay it off!


Got to be a fine of some sort, I would imagine


………and where will the money for that come from?


Stefan GP if they buy whats left of the company!


Hello James,

i just read on the Dutch site, that Toyota Motorsport has substracted its support of StefanGP and he no longer has the office to its disposal

According to the article Toyota is offering its skilled team to any parties showing interest in support for developing a car for 2011.


Please read “synthetic and composite materials”.


James the newlook site is great… lotsa room for the comments gives it a clean look.
Always enjoy the content of the blogs as well as the contribution of everyone here…
keep up the good work!!!


Sounds like history repeating with this application process. How are the teams supposed to get a new team and car ready in half a year. It wasn’t easy for this seasons new teams to do it. Maybe they should say they need to get the car ready for 2011, but that they then have to test for a year and finally enter Formula 1 in 2012.


I’ve said this before but I really hope they don’t let dodgy Dave Richards in the door.

Last time out in 2008, their preparation was as follows:

– buy a chassis.

– buy an engine.

And at the end of the day when customer chassis were banned, they were like “oh we can’t afford to build our own car like all the other teams, let’s quit”. They had their shot, I don’t think they deserve another chance.

Prisoner Monkeys

I’m against seeing Dave Richards and Prodrive in Formula 1. I know they’ve got the popular vote, but to me, they mis-managed their 2008 entry as badly as USF1 did theirs.

I know a lot of people blame the FIA for failing to get customer chassis regualtions approved, but I think there’s a much bigger problem going on here: Richards stated his intentions to use a McLaren chassis with a Mercedes engine. That probably would have made him competitive from the very beginning, yet it never occured to him that the established teams might have a problem with this. And have a problem they did: Williams blocked it, which was the right thing to do. If customer chassis had been permitted, the grid would have been populated by teams started by people with deep pockets rather than a genuine racing history.

Given that Dave Richards never had a backup plan in place, it obviously never occured to him that someone might oppose his plans. If that was the case, why was he even accepted in the first place? I know he ruled out Prodrive developing their own chassis in-house, but what was wrong with commissioning a design studio like Dallara or Lola? The point is that Richards screwed up. Badly. And I daresay that had a lot to do with Prodrive’s being rejected for the 2010 grid.

So, they’ve had their moment and they blew it. Why humour them again? I know they’ve had succss in multiple categories, but so have other outfits – like Ray Mallock Limited, who were going to apply for 2010 but decided against it at the last moment because of the political situation (but they didn’t rule out entering in the future).


Nicely put.


I actually thought that the rejection of Prodrive for 2010 had more to do with the fact that they refused to sign a contract to use the Cosworth engine because they wanted Mercedes’ unit instead, like a number of other teams applying. :-\

I think the only entries that really stand a chance of getting in -and- being successful are those who are already working on a car. So Lola and Stefan might be better off, because in the case of the former they did a lot of development work for 2010 and the latter at least have a 2010 car to work with. Anyone who is serious about being competitive really needs to start work from the moment that they apply, rather than when they find out whether or not they get a slot. Which is a financial gamble, really…

Prisoner Monkeys

Well, Richards’ refusal to sign with Cosworth may have been a part of it, but I don’t think it would have affected things too much. He wanted Mercedes engines to go into Aston Martin road cars, but under the term of the deal when he acquired Aston, he would not actually be allowed to use the Aston Martin Racing name for a short while every time he entered a new brand of motorsport. So he would have to field the team under the Prodrive name to begin with, and later change it to Aston Martin. And by the time he would be allowed to use the Aston Martin name, the Cosworth contract would have expired.

If anything, Richards was treating Formula 1 as a business deal, another reason why he shouldn’t be allowed in. Manufacturers don’t care for racing. Or at least, racing is not their first priority. Toyota was in the sport for the image. BMW was in for the development of new technologies. Honda was in Formula 1 to sell road cars. Richards would have been just another manufacturer who was more interested in something other than racing.

And besides, after losing the bid to buy Renault, he was quoted as saying Formula 1 is “not relevant”. I’d say he’s no longer interested in it.



There will be more than one slot by the end of the season, i rekon at least 2?


Who do you think is going out?


It might be easier to answer who is not going to go;

My answer to this would be,



Mercedes GP

Red Bull Renault

Force India Mercedes

Williams Cosworth

Virgin Racing

The rest I believe are going to struggle financially, although I truly hope they can survive it would not surprise me to see one of these teams fail.


I would seriously add Renault, Lotus and STR to that list – I don’t think their millionaire owners are going to see them flounder. Maybe at the end of 2012…


Just an informed observation, and i agree with you.


Where do you find this information? I’m not asking you to reveal sources, but more say if you have inside information or if this is just an informed observation? I can see Sauber going for sure, a car that is bare of any sponsors will not last long. I can’t see Lotus going though, they have a solid financial base in Tony Fernandes etc and are taking it seriously, why do you think they wont make it?

Fulveo Ballabeo

“This promises to be a hard fought and painful process”

Maybe not. Sure, the teams will posture. But at the end of the day, the large auto manufacturers (and their financial heft and diversified revenue streams) have largely left the sport. They had real power and influence…and options. Now we have more “pure” racing teams (in many ways, a good thing), but who’s sources of income are two-fold: sponsorships, and money from Bernie. How many significant new sponsors have the teams signed in the last 2 years? With revenue stream #1 all but dried up, it’ll be that much easier for the old divide & conquer routine: Sign now, and get this big check. Or, don’t sign, and risk going out of business. Checkmate!


James, I suggest the FIA’s ‘Make Roads Safe’ Campaign and goal to save around 5 million lives deserved an article on its own.

Shame the message has been diluted by talk of USF1 failure to make the grid and Stefan GP realization that PR alone will not get you on the podium.


They got to go with Prodrive/Aston. Just how well built of an organization does Dave Richards have to have to finally get in?

Aston is the type of manufacturer who should be in F1: sports car manufacturer all about speed, racing pedigree, and bourgeois excess, not about corporate empires. (Ala Toyota, Honda, BMW, etc.)


If for some odd reason the next chosen team fails to make the 2011 grid, there will be a new superstiotion regarding “Team 13”.. and for the next year they will skip over the number 13 and name it “Team 14”.


How come the FIA’s due diligence process did not eradicate USF1?

Has the process now been changed to detect porkies?

Aston Martin F1 brilliant!


The FIA are actually looking for 2 teams. one as a reserve … But who’d pay to be a back up team?




lets hope they make it I want the aston martin badge on the grid!

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