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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  |  77 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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Hi James

Is it also true that there will be a reserve team this year should the lead candidate fall through? If so how would that work? Will a team be expected to build a car from scratch, test it, hire personel and then not race if the primary candidate actually comes through? Or are the FIA trying to get 14 teams through the back door? Come next year will they just let the back up race?

Also, everyone is talking about Prodrive's entry. After the screw up about customer cars a few years back and then being denied and entry over USF1 and HRT are we sure they even want to come back? Once bitten twice shy and all that.

Finally, the new teams that were chosen have been great! Everyone moaning about how slow they would be, mobile chicane etc. Well the only decent racing in Bahrain was at the back between Lotus and Virgin, shame they didn't all make the finish. The big teams could learn alot about throwing caution to the wind and actually (dare I say it) racing each other rather than managing their tires and monitoring their fuel. Thanks James keep up the good work.


Wouldn't it be amazing if USF1 got back in?! I personally hope it goes to a team that didn't get the chance for 2010 e.g. Lola, Prodrive, Stefan, etc.

Regarding the ‘Make Roads Safe’ campaign: when humans are given the ability to break the rules ... they will do so without hesitation. Every other motorist is either tailgating, speeding, or using their phone while driving!

I challenge anyone to drive at the speed limit in a built-up area, and see how your fellow motorists react. I guarantee that the "good" members of society will tailgate you, flash their lights, use obscene gestures, and even brake-test you once they have overtaken you!

How to make roads safer: reduce the human interaction with the vehicle, use computers to maintain a safe distance between vehicles, and FORCE people to travel at the speed limit! It sounds crazy, but that is the only way we can stop the tailgating, aggression, and speeding!


Speed limit in built up areas? Many years ago when I was undergoing my Police Driving Course from a southern county, we went into London with the instruction, 'forget speed limits, keep with the flow.' NOTHING has changed in 35 years......!


Haha 🙂

Hand-held LTI speed guns are quite popular in this area ... "going with the flow" is the easiest way to be awarded penalty points, and a date in front of "the beak" 🙂

"But ... I was driving with the flow, your honour! :o"

You're 'avin a larf!


But there were no speed cameras in those days, Fletchampstead Highway which is the A45 running from Peugeot to Jaguar and on to Rover at Canley used to be flat with no worries, now you are never out of range of a camera.

And did you fully learn and implement "Roadcraft" the police driving manual, or was Jackie Stewart's Perfomance driving a better bet? Personally IMHO the best is "Very advanced driving" by A Tom Topper.

At the race school and on track days Police drivers always had to be instructed forcefully that you DO cross arms and do NOT pass the wheel from one hand to the other, or it's simply not quick enough.


USF1 will never get a chance to enter F1 again, they ruffled to many feathers and tarnished the reputation of Formula 1 as the premier motor sport by simply not making it to the grid.


I think USF! is gone forever, and the reputations of the two.


I hope Dave Richards finally gets his chance to enter F1 - looking at some of the new teams which did and didn't get in this year, you seriously have to question the FIA's Due Diligence process already!!

Whilst I applaud Stefan GP for its efforts lets get somebody who knows the racing industry fully on board, and lets be honest, how great would it be to see an Aston Martin F1 car!!


"[Stefan GP] 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"

...or it might just indicate that they have realised that they wasted a big pile of cash in buying the Toyota cars that will be out-of-date by next year and so they've given up and moved on.


I think that Stefan no longer have the cars.


Although they signed a tech support deal with Toyota and I guess they would be looking to utilise Toyota performance (or whatever the cologne centre is called now).


"which is known to have greatly irritated the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone" - what comes arround, goes arround... Does Bernie remember his statement about Hitler, and how many people got irritated about his "free speach"?


and by his "free speech" sample?



"Stefan GP ... have stopped putting out messages and have kept their head down..."

Autosport are reporting a different story


I find it amusing they must just be buying a fine


I'm actually angry at the FIA over the Stefan thing. They screwed up - they let a team enter that eventually failed dismally to satisfy most of the basic requirements of constructing a car, never mind make it to the grid.

Someone else want to take the slot, has invested in what would surely have a been a respectable mid-field runner (Toyota), is now prepared to buy the failed USF1 entry also, and would have brought yet another World Champion to the grid; and the FIA just keep writing to the guy telling him he can't join in!

What the hell is going on? Is there some dodgy angle to StefanGP that the fans arenm't being made of? Cos if not I can see no other reason for the constant refusal except for wilful obstructiveness. It's sickening. Let the team race - they couldn't be any worse than HRT!!!!!


Look who works for StefanGP...that will tell you why one man in one organization can stop the entry of one GP team...

'NOT everything is the fault of the FIA' believer!

Ken Anderson and co blocked the sale of USF1 to Stefan not the FIA.


I know, but that's not the point I was making. The point is that they've done everything to prove they can field a respectable team, and they've being blocked.


Good to hear that a proper due diligence will be carried out this time.

I hope David Richards and prodrive gain the spot. I must have had my head in the clouds as I hadn't realised prodrive had bought Aston martin.

I have more hope that a jean todt led fia will have learned the lessons of usf1.

May the best race team win (not the one with a link into a large potential Market.......).


Correct - Prodrive did not and have not purchased Aston Martin. A Kuwait consortium did. DR is the Chairman of the company so there are natural links - but not a purchased/owned link.



Ecclestone, who owns F1's commercial rights, is no stranger to controversial remarks. He once said women should dress in white "like all other domestic appliances."

In The Times interview, Ecclestone said that had been a joke, adding: "I would love to have a good lady race driver and preferably black and Jewish, too, but they might take maternity leave."

big deal, Bernie got irritated.... such a depressing day for Formula 1... 🙂


About this:

"“(a) the technical ability and resources of the team;

(b) the ability of the team to raise and maintain sufficient funding to allow participation;"

Charles Whithing around middle of January gave USF1 the green light to race in 2010,that was a week before Lopez signed his contract,and that is WHY he did it,so what makes us believe that this time FIA will judge a team correctly and this time 10 months before the first race,and not just 2 like this year?

And also how do they(FIA) expect a team to show the resources to run a team when the have not had secure their slot in F1,and therefore is very difficult to have a sponsorship deal signed?

This is a big BS.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

What a shambles. British-born Windsor was going on about the "superiority" of US productivity and in the end they produced nothing. The US's major contribution to auto design technology has been the cupholder.

Any news on what happened to the $800,000 that Jose Maria Lopez placed with USF1?

I understand that Windsor and Anderson have not been forthcoming on returning it.


British-born, but actually moved to Australia when very young and indeed taken Australian nationality and holding that countrys' passport.

But whatever, one of those famous quotes that will come back to haunt him kind of like the guy saying The Beatles were rubbish and he did not see a future for them...


Most of the synthetic materials used in race car chasses and race engines are made in the United States.


Will USF1 even apply?

Aston definitely need to be in F1 to erase the picture of that little fiddly car they built out of that baby Toyota - whatever it was called!

As to the safe roads thing - well their main thrust seems to be that Africa needs more roads for health reasons and at the same time they need to be safe so they dont kill ppl and that somehow thats a problem for the UN. I think its just foolishness.


My only concern is that the new team will not find out until July, which, despite Lotus' efforts having found out in September they racing this year, doesnt give the new team too much time to get ready for the 2011 season.

I personally do not expect USF1 to be given the slot, they had their chance but didnt take it.....


The reason that Stefan GP was rejected was that they were not ready.....So, were H.R.T.? Who admitted using the first GP as testing? This, surely, was completely against everything Formula One is meant to stand for - or am I being cynical?


there's more than just being on the grid - It was less than two weeks before the first race that USF1 said they really couldn't be there. Stefan hadn't signed the concord agreement, hadn't negotiated their share of revenues, they didn't have a second car built, didn't even have tyres.

OK HRT hadn't turned a wheel, but they had signed all the legal paperwork and made their commitments to the FIA and FOM. Stefan were just a racing team, pushing for a place.

'NOT everything is the fault of the FIA' believer!

Stefan are not racing because they do not have an entry. They where never rejected.


James, the FIA wont be too bothered about listening to USF1 again surely? Do you think they could try again and convince the FIA they are intitled to next years slot?

Also if Prodrive were hopefuly successful would the cars on the grid be branded at Aston Martin. That would be great for the sport..



Hi James...sorry this is off topic but I hear McLaren, Mercedes GP and at least two other teams have to change their diffusers according to the FIA.

Do you know who the other teams are and how will this affect them for the next race?


Its not really their diffusers so much as the openings within the diffusers for the engine-starting devices to be inserted. What should simply be a (small, roundish) hole they managed to adapt into a long oval shape in the diffuser which adds downforce. It doesn't make a huge difference apparently; obviously they will have less downforce but it wont seriously affect their pace.


Renault & Force India


It's Renault and Force India, the change to their diffusers should bring about less downforce and therefore move them down the pecking order.




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


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


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!


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".


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.)


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.

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!



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?

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.


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.


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.


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!!!


Please read "synthetic and composite materials".


Hello James,

i just read on the Dutch site Formule1Nieuws.nl, 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.

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!


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


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!


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?


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.


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.


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.


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!


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?


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.


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!

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