- Oct 31, 2006
Nissan to join F1 in 2008?
Rumors are again mounting with suggestions that Nissan is considering entering Formula One with its own team. Rival Japanese automakers Honda and Toyota both have teams, and Korean competitor Hyundai recently announced their intentions to join in on the action as well. With the contemporary trend of automakers supporting full teams – as opposed to simply providing engines as was the practice in the past – Nissan is likely considering its own team and not just an engine contract with an existing one.
Of course Nissan's sister company Renault have a team of their own – a world champion team, actually. But while this shows the company's appreciation for F1, it's practically unheard of for an automaker to run two full competing teams. Other squads (Ferrari serving as the most prominent example) commonly supply engines to smaller teams, but Red Bull is the only company that runs two full teams.
One possible scenario would be for the Renault team to simply switch banners to Nissan. Given that the Renault F1 team has little to do with the French automaker, the move would be primarily a change of image, if CEO Carlos Ghosn sees fit.
A second possibility is being fueled by reports of Nissan talking with retired driver and former team owner Alain Prost, which would likely see Nissan buying out an existing team for the Frenchman to run.
The Nissan team is tipped to be hitting the grid as early as 2008, a full two years before Hyundai's and a mere two seasons away. If both Nissan and Renault were to both run teams, we wouldn't be surprised if Nissan served as the "farm team" for Renault, possibly using their engines re-badged as Nissans while providing them with extra testing data and some back-field support.
[Source: Motor Authority]