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Stefan GP brokers a deal with Toyota Racing – Click above for high-res image gallery

Some people just won't take no for an answer. That sense of unbridled optimism could stand to serve an F1 team well, only Stefan GP isn't an F1 team. Yet. But they hope to be, and they're not taking no for an answer.

Late last year after Toyota departed from the series, the Serbian racing team headed by Zoran Stefanovic (pictured above at Toyota's headquarters in Cologne, Germany) brokered a deal with the Japanese automaker to pick up Toyota's aborted 2010 program and run with it as an independent. Stefan applied for a slot on the grid, but their bid was rejected. Now they're banking on one of the teams that was accepted – Campos, USF1 or (less likely) Virgin or Lotus – failing to make it to the opening round in Bahrain next month.

Sounds ambitious? Definitely, but not without merit. Bernie Ecclestone is backing Stefan GP's effort, and they're slated to unveil their own car, powered by their own engine (both rebranded from Toyota's program), and send it to the test session in Portugal later this month. Toyota is providing support, and Stefan has recruited a team of engineers – including several former McLaren operatives implicated in the Spygate and Liegate scandals – and former Midland/Spyker/Force India director Colin Kolles.

Word has it the team has also already lined up two experienced drivers backed by Toyota: Kazuki Nakajima and – get this – Ralf Schumacher. The younger Schumi expressed interest in returning to F1 alongside his more successful brother, and may just get his chance if another team misses theirs.

[Source: Stefan GP via ESPN]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      CTS does not make Formula 1 components, a**hat. Maybe they will for USF1.

      So not funny anymore.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Campos and USF1 is rumored to be in serious trouble (as well as Force India):


      And Bernie has revealed teams can miss races:

      According to Bernie Stefan GP will take up the spot if any of them drop out or miss races, shows what a shamble this sport is financially.

      You have to wonder why they rejected capable teams like Lola, and Prodrive. Rumored to be because they didn't want to use Cosworth engines.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Maliya insists that Force India is okay, so we'll see. They have enough money, it seems.

        It'd be unfortunate if Stefan went with Nakajima -- he's just not a very good driver. Whenever they show his on-board camera, I just keep thinking "missed that apex, could've pushed that a bit further, lost a few milliseconds there." He's either way too conservative (which makes for a poor driver) or he genuinely doesn't have the skills...
      • 5 Years Ago
      WTF does Bernie have against the US? He needs to go.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Way to manage the dignity of your career, Ralf. However much there may be.
      • 5 Years Ago
      i think toyota sign a letter of intent before they cancel their team. does anyone know if they still have to obey by it? or did they pay the fine? if they didnot then the stefan crew may get their spot? any thoughts!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I see Denso in the background. No CTS?
        • 5 Years Ago
        CTS does not make Formula One components ass hat. Maybe they will for USF1.