Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Take the money and go testing

Stefan Grand Prix chief Zoran Stefanovic is continuing with plans to enter F1 next season after recently visiting the ex-Toyota factory in Germany. Stefanovic is looking to complete a deal to take over the design of the 2010 F1 car Toyota would have used. Although Stefan GP does not have an entry, they aim to be ready. The Toyota entry was given to Peter Sauber, who reacquired his team from BMW in the wake of their withdrawal. According to Stefanovic, the plan is simple, Plan A: F1 in 2010. Plan B: go into F1 in 2011 but test and test a lot in 2010 as not being bound by the Concorde Agreement places no restrictions on them.

What's nice for Stefan GP is that they may acquire the rights to a car designed by Toyota that can instantly make them more than tail-enders. However, as I do not see there being 14 teams on the grid, 2010 is just a dream...unless one of the current teams is not on the grid in March. However, I don't blame Stefanovic for pushing hard on the 2010 entry as they may have a car, facility and the potential of making some money as a potential mid-field runner with the ex-Toyota package. But a 40% increase in teams that finished 2009 is an expansion that I do not think F1 is prepared to support.

So the proper thing to do is go testing and develop the team, package, analyze the competition and prepare for a real onslaught in 2011; and they just might do that. The latest report from Autosport.com says Stefan GP is looking to start a young driver development program to coincide with their testing plans. That says to me that they will take the option of spending 2010 testing; and earning some money while doing it. Stefanovic says, "we will offer teams, who are changing drivers during the season, or even young drivers themselves, the chance to test our car so they can gain experience. It will be purely a commercial operation."

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