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F1 Lowdown on the 2010 contenders

Lowdown on the 2010 contenders

Wednesday, 10 June 2009 00:00

Lowdown on the 2010 contenders - Feature - F1 | ITV Sport

On Friday the FIA will announce the identity of the 13 teams that will be part of Formula 1 in 2010.

Given the ongoing dispute between the governing body and FOTA, most of the interest will be in which of the existing teams remain in the field – or if all eight FOTA squads are excluded.

But whatever the outcome of the FIA/FOTA row, technically F1 has space for 13 teams, so at least three newcomers ought to be in the 2010 entry list.

Which means that at least some of the host of newcomers mocked by Ferrari as 'Formula GP3 teams' are set to join the top echelon next year – although this saga has already featured so many twists and turns, it's hard to be certain of anything at the moment.

As the countdown to the entry list announcement nears its climax, itv.com/f1 presents a guide to the 10 teams known to be trying to break into F1 for 2010.

Campos Meta1

Adrian Campos' own Formula 1 career was little to get excited about - in his Minardi stint in the late 1980s, he only saw the chequered flag twice in 21 appearances.

But he would have a major effect on F1 just over a decade later as the original manager of future double world champion Fernando Alonso, who he ran in his formative years in Spanish national racing.

By then Campos was firmly established as a team owner, ultimately moving into GP2 after success on the domestic scene. Following a quiet start, Campos Grand Prix progressed to the point that it became the 2008 teams' champion, and has started 2009 as the squad to beat too.

Campos is no longer involved in the outfit he founded, though, having sold it to businessman Alejandro Agag and stepped down to concentrate on a 'new project' - which turned out to be his F1 bid. Italian former F1 constructor Dallara is reportedly lined up to design the car.


As one of the largest and best-equipped racing organisations outside F1, it was only a matter of time before Prodrive took a shot at motorsport's pinnacle.

This is actually the company's second attempt in two seasons - for it was awarded the '12th spot' for 2008 and intended to form a customer partnership with McLaren before a legal challenge from Williams led to the project being abandoned.

Prodrive boss David Richards has already dabbled in F1 twice before, running Benetton briefly in the late 1990s, and then turning BAR's form around prior to the Honda buy-out in the early 2000s.

The Banbury-based company has achieved huge success in sportscars, touring cars and the World Rally Championship, and is currently behind Aston Martin's assualt on Le Mans - Richard having led a Kuwaiti-funded takeover of Aston in 2007.

That has led to tantalisingly speculation that Prodrive's F1 team could eventually run under the Aston Martin banner, 50 years after the legendary British marque's last attempt at F1.

Team USF1

The first of the new applicants to make its intentions known, USF1's bold aim is to reinvigorate American interest in F1 by running a team with American drivers and expertise, operating out of a facility in North Carolina.

Founders Ken Anderson (a former Ligier designer) and Peter Windsor (an ex-Williams team manager turned journalist and broadcaster) believe that running a team from a different continent is no longer a problem given modern facilities and transport links, but also intend to set up a Spanish out-base for the squad.

Although they only went public with their F1 intentions in spring this year, USF1 has been in the planning for several years and Windsor has said that the project has Bernie Ecclestone's seal of approval.


A hugely successful sportscar, Indycar and junior single seater chassis builder, Lola has made several attempts to crack F1 in the past but with little success - and sometimes outright disaster.

Lola built chassis for clients including Honda, Graham Hill, the American Beatrice team, and French squad Larrouse at various times from the early 1960s to the 1990s, although its only win came from the Honda-branded car in the 1967 Italian GP.

A bid to return under its own title in 1997 nearly destroyed the company, as Lola withdrew after its woefully slow cars failed to qualify for the season-opener.

The firm went into administration in the wake of this debacle, but was bought and resuscitated by Irish enthusiast and circuit owner Martin Birrane, who now feels the time is right to try and return to F1.


There was mass scepticism when recently-established Formula 3 team Litespeed - currently struggling at the back of the British championship with an outdated and uncompetitive car - declared that it wanted to be in F1 next year, but the project has gathered credibility.

Litespeed bosses Steve Kenchington and Nino Judge are former Lotus F1 engineers, and have gained permission to use the Lotus title for their project.

Ex-Tyrrell, Jordan, Renault, Toyota and Force India man Mike Gascoyne is working on the car's design, and the team is set to use the Norfolk factory where Bentley's 2003 Le Mans winner was prepared.

The original Lotus team won seven titles with legends such as Jim Clark and Mario Andretti in the 1960s and 1970s, and was revered for late founder and design Colin Champman's innovative approach, but went into a sad decline in the late 1980s and eventually folding at the end of 1994.


One of the most mysterious of all the potential new entrants, March will be a start-up organisation using the title of the squad originally created by Max Mosley and three colleagues in 1970.

March was a prolific racing car builder that also ran works teams, with its highlights coming in its very first season when Jackie Stewart took victory in a non-championship event with a Tyrrell-run March on the car's debut, and then took pole for the main series' opener.

The company pulled out at the end of 1977, its fortunes having declined, although it reappeared with Leyton House backing in the late 1980s and produced some giant-killing heroics with Adrian Newey-designed cars.

The team collapsed again prior to 1993, but the name rights were bought by British businessman Andrew Flitton, also the owner of Swindon Town football club.

Team Superfund

For many fans the most exciting element of this Austrian-based project is that Alex Wurz is at the helm.

Renowned as one of the most intelligent and technically able drivers when on the grid, ex-Benetton, McLaren and Williams man Wurz is better qualified than most racers to succeed on the other side of the pit wall.

Wurz's entrepreneur friend Christian Baha is funding the project and running it under the banner of his Superfund company. Baha is a long-time motorsport sponsor, and attempted to establish his own junior racing championship in the mid-2000s.

Team Superfund says it is already negotiating a collaborative deal with an established F1 team, but could run out of its own premises in Austria in the future.

Epsilon Euskadi

Spanish team Epsilon Euskadi is a successful junior racing team, and also constructed its own Le Mans car - although that project was shelved this year due to a lack of finance.

It has a large facility in Bilbao, but its main qualification for an F1 attempt is the strong track record of its boss Joan Villadelprat.

He worked at McLaren, Ferrari and Tyrrell before becoming operations director at Benetton during Michael Schumacher's championship years in the mid-1990s. He then switched to Alain Prost's ill-fated team, going on to set up Epsilon Euskadi after this squad's demise.

The car is set to be designed by the prolific Sergio Rinland, whose credits include a stint at Williams and promising designs for Sauber and Arrows.


This Italian team is best known for its excellent record in touring cars, where its Alfa Romeo programmes won multiple European championships and also achieved plenty of success at world level.

Its single seater and car design experience comes from the Formula Master series, a junior championship running on the World Touring Car support bill.

N.Technology designed and built the chassis for the series, and also runs the championship.

The entry has been submitted by its parent company MSC, but is set to run as N.Technology if it gets a place on the grid.


Another particularly curious entry, this project is spearheaded by German businessman Franz Hilmer, who owns the rights to the Brabham name and bought many of the assets of the defunct Super Aguri squad last year.

Former Super Aguri technical director Mark Preston is on board, and the team is set to run from Aguri's old Leafield base.

But just hours after the announcement of Hilmer's plans, the Brabham family declared that they were contemplating legal action over the use of the name, having not been consulted about the bid.

The original Brabham team was founded by Jack Brabham in the 1960s, with the Australian going on to become the first man to win the championship for his own outfit.

It was later sold to Bernie Ecclestone, who along with design ace Gordon Murray made the team a major force again and took Nelson Piquet to three world titles. Ecclestone closed the team at the end of 1987, although it made a brief and largely unsuccessful reappearance between 1989 and 1992 after being sold to a Swiss financier.
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