Grand Primer: A dozen new teams lodge bids to enter F1

Whatever the outcome of the standoff between the Formula One Teams Association and the FIA, it was clear from the get-go that F1 was to change dramatically. As it turned out, the two parties – the first representing the teams currently participating in the sport and the second its governing body – have apparently reconciled their differences.

But as it turns out, even if all of the existing teams walked, the FIA would still have had a field of eager teams ready to take their place – that's one heck of a bargaining chip. One way or another, all indications are that the cost of running an F1 team will be drastically reduced in the near future, starting with next season. Lower costs mean easier access, and teams have been lining up by the dozen to take part in the new, more accessibly Formula One. Follow the jump to read all about 'em.

[Source: Autosport | Image: Mark Thompson/Getty]
  • First up is the team tentatively known as USF1. Though the name is expected to change (copyright issues), the idea is running full steam ahead: an American team, staffed by American personnel, with American drivers driving American machinery. Having lodged its entry before the floodgates opened, USF1 stands the strongest chance of appearing on the grid next year.
  • The next most likely candidate is David Richards. We refer to the once-and-future-team-principal instead of the team he'd be heading because Richards sits at the head of both Prodrive and Aston Martin, and both outfits, as we've reported previously, are expected to factor in. Richards has a wealth of experience in running racing teams, having steered Subaru's rally effort and Aston Martin's Le Mans program, to name just two, and even ran the BAR F1 team until handing the reins over to Honda. The team is expected to run under the Prodrive name with Mercedes engines for the first couple of seasons until Aston Martin's name is brought in to bare.
  • The latest outfit to throw its name into the ring is N.Technology, a team which dominated the European Touring Car Series with Alfa Romeo for three years running before moving up to the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC), where it placed third three seasons in a row. N.Technology's parent company MSC Organization Ltd is also the organizing body behind the International Formula Master championship, an open-wheel F1 feeder series that supports WTCC events.
  • A name that is no stranger to the world of F1, meanwhile, is Lola, a team which participated in the sport under various banners during the 1960s, only to drop out ahead of an aborted attempt to re-enter in 1997. The British manufacturer announced back in April that it was beginning work on its own F1 chassis. While Lola could go it alone in the new F1, we wouldn't be surprised to see it team up with one of the other entries, building the car for a partner team to race.
  • Another throw-back name from F1 history re-appearing under the new conditions is March, the team co-founded by FIA president Max Mosley. March first appeared in F1 in 1970, when it raced under its own name and also supplied customer chassis to other teams. On its race debut, Jackie Stewart took pole in a March 701 under the Tyrrell banner. After starting nearly 200 grands prix and winning three, March dropped out of the sport in 1992. Sources suggest that the currently dormant race team, now owned by British soccer team owner Andew Fitton, could partner with Cosworth in its return to the field.
  • Other teams which have registered their bids to join the F1 grid for 2010 include Epsilon Euskadi, a Spanish racing team which currently campaigns in the World Series by Renault and Le Mans; former GP2 team Campos Racing which currently competes in the Spanish Formula 3 championship and reportedly has backing from Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim; current GP2 competitor iSport; and former F1 driver Alex Wurz's Team Superfund; as well as former Bennetton designer and Simtek F1 boss Nick Wirth; motorsport engineering consultancy Ray Mallock Limited; and automotive components supplier Formtech, which acquired the assets of the former Super Aguri team and announced a deal to run under the stoic Brabham name. Previous rumors suggested that either Andretti Green or Penske could try their hand at F1 as well, however no confirmation has followed.
Questions still remain as to who would provide the engines to all these new teams clamoring for their shot at the big time. Mercedes-Benz has emerged as a favorite, already supplying McLaren, Brawn GP and Force India with engines. The German automaker could potentially terminate its relationship with McLaren and opt only to supply engines, but surely Mercedes can't power the entire grid on its own. With support from FIA president Max Mosley, Cosworth looks poised to return to F1 by supplying relatively low-cost engines to independent teams. However Ferrari, Toyota, Renault and BMW could find themselves in a position to take additional teams under their wings in supplying customer engines.

All in all that makes 13 teams confirmed to have formalized their bids to enter the Formula One championship for next season. While F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has voiced his support for an expanded grid, surely not all of this baker's dozen can be accepted in addition to the ten teams currently in the series. The FIA is scheduled to publicize the final entry list on June 12, so stay tuned for the announcement.

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