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CH4S Admin , Outstanding Contributor
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Is F1 on the cards for ART GP?

With Dave Richards and Prodrive not making it to the 2008 Formula One grid, thoughts turn to who else may fill the twelfth spot in the future. One such team is the ART GP2 outfit, which has already helped two up and coming drivers on their way to the pinnacle of Motorsports, Nico Rosberg in 2005 and Lewis Hamilton in 2006.

There has already been strong speculation about the possibility of the GP2 team, champions in two of the three championships contested to date, the inaugural season in 05 and again in 06, so the question was put to the two team owners, Frederic Vasseur and Nicolas Todt, about whether or not they were planning on making the move up to Formula One anytime in the future.

“When you are a professional tennis player, you inevitably want to play on the central court at Roland Garros one day! Those that say otherwise are liars,” Vasseur told F1 Racing France in their last issue. “As an individual, you need to match with a profile to move up into F1. Perhaps I have it, but I have spent the past ten years working on ASM and ART Grand Prix and I do not intend to throw it all away.”

So, if they did decide to make the move, how would they go about it, as a team in their own right, with a manufacturer or as a B team?

“It would be necessary to join F1 under the cover of a B team, which does not depend on me but on the FIA rules and financing. The long term project is to continue to win... and the idea is to duplicate our know-how into building cars. We massively invested on the technical side, and the logical continuation would be to be our own superintendent on our projects. That could happen with an involvement in endurance or in DTM; we are doing more and more engineering, we took part in the development of the World Series by Renault for instance; we are trying to develop an engineering service with the aim to set up an engineering department that would be as powerful as possible.”

As Nicolas Todt explained, while it would be the realization of a dream, turning that dream into a reality is not as simple as some may think….

“To turn ART Grand Prix into an F1 team would be a beautiful project, it is very easy to say, but making it real would be much more difficult” the Frenchman told F1 Racing France.

To start with, the manpower of the company, which is currently made up of 38 people, would need to be multiplied by at least three or four times that in just a few short weeks!

“With 130 people you could start to think about an F1 team, by sub-contracting many things. But there is also the financial aspect, you simply can’t ignore it. All the more that our goals would not be to just make up the numbers. To turn ART Grand Prix into an F1 team would not be an evolution, but a true metamorphosis. It is possible to do this because we have the capacities to reach that point, but you need a clear picture of such a project for a minimum of four years, which would have to be either a manufacturer team, or a B team either to be able to count on robust partners that would engage themselves on the long term.”
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