Lola to be second new F1 team in 2010?

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

The 1997 Lola T97/30 - it entered one race and failed to qualify
The 1997 Lola T97/30 - it entered one race and failed to qualify

Lola has announced it is considering an F1 comeback in 2010, taking advantage of new rules to slash the cost of competition.

They are the second team to be linked with an entry in 2010. The other is the American entry previously known as USF1 and USGPE, which is now tipped to be called US-F1 Team.

Last time ’round

Lola has competed in F1 on several occasions in the past, but it’s most recent appearance was notable only for their lack of success.

Lola’s last F1 entry was in 1997 with backing from Mastercard. The original plan had been for the team to compete in 1998, but a late change saw the team make its debut a year early.

It was a complete disaster, with 1995 Formula 3000 champion Vincenzo Sospiri qualifying 11.6s off pole sitter Jacques Villeneuve?s time at Melbourne.

At the time only cars that lapped within 107% of the pole position time were allowed into the race, and Lola failed to make the cut. Then Mastercard pulled their funding and the team went to the wall ?ǣ almost taking the Lola parent company with it.

Lola’s F1 history

Lola’s first appearance in F1 was in 1962. Five years later John Surtees won the Italian Grand Prix in a car which, though officially entered as a Honda, was based on a Lola chassis.

Since then Lola made a series of sporadic appearances. They were with Embassy Racing in the mid-seventies, then with the Ford-powered Haas team from 1985-6, followed by a longer partnership with French team Larrouse from 1987-1990, and again with Scuderia Italia in 1993. But few of these were competitive, and there were no further wins.

It produced an unusual-looking test car for 1995, which had no bodywork between the roll hoop and the rear wing, but wasn’t raced. Two years later came the abortive Mastercard effort.

Current activity

Since then Lola has continued to produce racing cars for many different championships. It enjoyed particular success in the CART / Champ Car series, becoming the series’ exclusive chassis supplier until the end of 2006.

It also created the chassis which Aston Martin is using in the top LMP1 category in Le Mans this year – although the two are presently involved in a very public row. Aston Martin is co-owned by David Richards, boss of Prodrive, who was linked to a return to F1 via the team that eventually became Brawn, but he ruled it out saying costs are still too high.

When F1 grids have dwindled to such a worryingly small size it is encouraging to see a second outfit announce it is seriously considering competing next year.

It is crucial to Formula 1?s long term future that it can bring its costs down to a level where independent teams without manufacturer backing can thrive.

49 comments on “Lola to be second new F1 team in 2010?”

  1. Very interesting !
    Lola is a historic brand. I am all in favor of cost cutting that encourages more entries like Lola.
    I would love to see a Lola-Cosworth racing in Road America or Indianapolis. This is glorious F1 history.
    Best of luck !
    I hope a new F1 world emerges soon, different and better than the existing one.

  2. Moneytron Onyx 2.0!

  3. Mussolini's Pet Cat
    22nd April 2009, 20:22

    The more (teams) the merrier as far as i’m concerend.

  4. No pictures of the “unusual-looking test car” from 1995? You’ve sparked my interest, does anyone have any pictures of this car?

    1. I was going to ask the same thing. I hadn’t heard about that, and I’m now intrigued to see what it looked like!

    2. Must have a picture of it somewhere – I’ll have a rummage…

    3. The car is called the ‘Lola T95/30’

      There is a Wikipedia page at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lola_T95/30

      The ‘Unraced’ book has lots of nice large pictures. I have the book and could scan a couple in maybe, unless there’s copyright issues or some other gumpf.

  5. it’s good to see some of the old times coming back

  6. Colin Sanders
    22nd April 2009, 20:59

    http://www.forix.com/8w/lola.html
    I think this is the car you are looking for.
    Interesting design as doesnt appear to have an airbox!!

    1. That’s the one! Thanks.

  7. This is great news, I hope they join we need more teams.
    I also hope that Dallara join in the future. They are a fantastic company that make some great cars for other series.

    1. I was thinking Dallara- weren’t they also involved in F1 at some point?

    2. I think Dallara were in F1 back in the early nineties but I’m not 100% sure.

  8. Any idea of who the drivers may be?

    1. Well, as in most cases, some of it must come down to who the backers/sponsors are. So if there are any major connections to national brands, expect some drivers with specific sponsorship to get a yell.

      Assuming the team is British in registry and in terms of location/staff, perhaps a British driver may be on top. di Resta springs to mind, as dose Gary Paffett. I’m sure there are loads more, but you guys over on that side of the pond need to help me out with that ;)

      Aside from that, we all know Sato will want in with any new operation, and while he’s obviously looking higher, Bruno Senna as well. We don’t know who will be out of a ride by that time, so any current drivers who may be out of a seat in the future could get a look.

      Oh, did I forget Giorgio ;)

    2. di Grassi and Anthony Davidson, too.

  9. its great having more teams but two sets of technical regs…idk about that and a 30m budget…heck toro rosso spends twice that

  10. Very good news for the sport- Lola is one of those companies that we can look at as being very successful in racing and say “If only the costs to compete in F1 weren’t so much….” Well, here ya go :)

    I very much hope this comes to reality, as there are obviously plenty of people with good motor-racing experience in the company, and they would surely be a good addition to the grid if it all comes together.

  11. +1 for Anthony Davidson!

  12. That’s good. More teams, more competition.

  13. More teams more competition. Looks like we r going back to 80s.

  14. I hope this encourages more privateer teams to return. Wouldn’t it be great to see the return of lotus,brabham,alfa romeo. I would also like to see simtek competing again. After all they were labelled as the most incompetent team after the death of roland ratzenberger. Even to see honda back as engine suppliers would be great. I would love to see porche returning to f1. Their TAG engines were legendary after all. What about teams like wolf,march,jaguar even they deserve an entry. It would be nice if f1 follows the EPL model. Where we have 15 teams competing. The bottom 5 teams can be relegated. They later can compete with other teams in the grade b championships. If this concept were to be employed, then we might have seen ferrari,mclaren,bmw relegated from the championship! Wouldn’t that be nice keith?

    1. they were labelled as the most incompetent team after the death of roland ratzenberger.

      I don’t think so – Ratzenberger’s horrible accident was caused by a front wing failure, but that was because he’d gone off on the previous lap and damaged it, but hadn’t realised. It wasn’t Sitmtek’s fault.

    2. The most incompetent team award surely goes to Life or Andrea Moda or someone like that.

      It’ll be great to see large sprawling grids again.

      And as for Toro Rosso spending twice the €30 budget cap, there was an interview from the BBC with Flav at the Chinese GP weekend where he stated that Benetton spent that much in the 1995 season, and they managed fine, and the racing was more exciting to boot; and nowadays they spend 10 times that for far less exciting racing.

  15. Four Six Tango
    23rd April 2009, 6:08

    Its amazing how 4 months ago most of us thought F1 was doomed and that the sport was in danger of skipping a season.

    Now we have a potential of 2 more teams! This is great I hope it goes through!

    1. the sport was in danger of skipping a season.

      I don’t remember anyone saying that anywhere – not even about Indy Car, never mind F1.

  16. i’m not so sure lola will actually pull this off. their announcement implied they will enter only as a “low-cost teir” team, and at this point that is far from a done deal. personally, i don’t like the sound of multiple formulae.

    don’t get me wrong, nothing would be better than seeing outfits like lola, dallara, maybe lotus and a few others jump in the dogfight.

  17. Great to see more interest in F1 from the likes of Lola, but F1Yankee is right, they are carefully wording their statement so that it depends on what the actual budget is set at for 2010.
    Also the comment about the Lola/Aston Martin/Prodrive link – there are reports in today’s newspapers about AM looking at a return to F1 as well – but do they mean Prodrive/AM or Lola/AM?
    I would like to see far more teams in F1, and rules that do not allow a ‘Works’ team in any form, but which do allow an engine manufacturer to support more than one team, so that the costs can be spread a bit more.

  18. While I would love to see more teams in F1, (as long as they are not way off the pace), what I got from the announcement was that Lola are only looking at how feasible it would be to enter Formula One if the proposed £30M budget cap comes into effect. At the moment I would be surprised if we see Lola on the 2010 grid.

    Speaking of the budget cap

    http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/74704

    This article says that the FIA have asked the teams to submit what they think a realistic level for the budget cap should be by today. Even the FIA wouldn’t ask for such important information at such short notice so I wonder why we haven’t heard of this before now.

    It also says that Mosley thinks the budget cap should be lower at £25M even though all his advisors think it should be higher, what does he know about running a modern F1 team.

    Also driver salaries will now not be included in the budget cap.

    At the bottom of the article it says something more relevant to this article that the FIA intend to grant 3 new teams a place on the 2010 even though it has been limited to a 24 car grid in recent years. I wonder if this is three teams who have already told the FIA they want to enter F1 next year, or if it is just making the spaces available should someone decide they want to enter F1 in the future.

  19. A great news indeed!! May be we can see a 30 car grid by 2011??? Fingers crossed!

  20. That Lola 95 is really ugly and even makes the 2009 spec cars look beautiful.

  21. Prodrive are now seriously considering entering F1 in 2010 if the rules are right

    http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/74707

    So the three new teams the FIA mentioned could be USF1, Lola and Prodrive.

    I think the reported interest of Lola and Prodrive mean it is more likely that a budget cap will be in the rules for next year leading to a two-tier F1 under the current proposals.

    Although I would like to see more teams in F1 the current suggestion for a budget cap and two sets of technical regulations are unworkable in my view.

  22. By the way, I am at UK now and will remain here till end of july. Can anybody suggest how to get a ticket for Silverstone?? :P

  23. Bigbadderboom
    23rd April 2009, 11:37

    Although for me privateer teams and more cars on the grid are all positives for the sport, I do have concerns about the budget caps. For some of the teams to reduce their operating costs by up to 10 fold would have to involve making certain compromises. The obvious is driver safety, but I think that reliability is also a big factor. The last thing I want to see is a 24/26 car grid with the majority of these cars parked up by the end of the race with various failures.
    No fuel stops next season, and the continueing intergration of KERS are only going to cause more reliability issues.

    I would love to see lola, Lotus, Brabham or prodrive take to the grid, but if it means either a 2 tier racing series or negates from the spectacle that is f1 then I’d rather stick to a 20 car well funded grid which can continue to push f1 forward.

  24. Several young drivers in the GP2 and other feeder series must be licking their lips. An excellent opportunity for them with at least two new teams coming in (with James Allen talking about more). The budget cuts will also mean less reliance on sponsored drivers, thus allowing the entry into F1 to develop into a true meritocracy.

  25. Isn’t it ironic the the two country’s with F1 teams (Force India and USF1) both don’t host a F1 Grand Prix.

    MADNESS!!!! Needs to be fixed.

    1. You are correct about the madness part, but don’t forget that India is on tap for a 2011 GP date- it’s perhaps Bernie’s proudest project to date.

      As for here in America, the desire to get a GP continues to rage on, and will do so until we have a race somewhere here in the 50 states. Hopefully the establishment of USF1 will be a boost to whatever efforts are underway to re-establish a race here.

  26. Scott Joslin
    23rd April 2009, 13:54

    Pre qualifying here we come….!

    1. I don’ty see why, just change the rules so that all 26 can race, I’d much rather see that than pre-qualifying.

      As for the 2 national teams not having GP’s, that will change, as the US Grand prix will return next year, and Force India will sell up due to another pointless season.

  27. I met her in a club down in old soho
    Where you drink champagne and it tastes just like cherry-cola
    C-o-l-a cola
    She walked up to me and she asked me to dance
    I asked her her name and in a dark brown voice she said lola

    I can’t believe I was the first one to make this terrible joke!

  28. Prodrive might also enter F1 for 2010

    Maybe using Aston Martin engine too :O

  29. We need the 107% rule back. Along with the 12 lap qualification system.
    Those were exiting qualification sessions to watch.

  30. Lola would be interesting. Perhaps they should test the water by just introducing a chassis to an independent team. Don’t think they could cut it on their own based on history.
    Prodrive? I don’t think so. Richards doesn’t seem to me to be interested enough. As long as the entire project is funded by someone else,(the sheiks), is the only way he can get involved. He doesn’t have the passion.
    However, we are clearly seeing something here. I believe economics are going to cause the manufacturers, (all but Ferrari), to pull out within the next 3 years.
    They will remain as engine suppliers and this will cause a huge resurgence in the independent teams.
    What do you think?

    1. Some more manufacturers may pull out, but I think they strill see great value in the F1 concept. Hopefully we will see more privatly-run teams though- who dosen’t love the team like Williams and the like :)

  31. Keith,

    you don’t mention the reason for Lola to enter a year earlier than the original plan.

    It was entirely because of Mastercard who pushed Lola into a premature entry in Formula One with a barely tested car, which hadn’t been tested in the windtunnel yet. Also because of the early entry the (custom build) engine they were supposed to use wasn’t ready yet and they had to revert to old Ford Zetec engines.

    And because after one race Mastercard decided to wothdraw, the complete failure is entirely Mastercards fault.

    It could have been so much better if Mastercard didn’t push Lola to enter in 1997, but in 1998 instead.

  32. I don’t mean to rain on everyone’s parade, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

    You still can’t convince me it’s possible to race, let alone race at the front, on 30 mil a year. And what of the start up costs for a new team??

    It’s more positive spin for Max’s delusional budget/two tier proposal. Insanity at it’s worst.

  33. KingHamilton&co
    24th April 2009, 18:49

    I hope USF1, Lola and Prodrive all make the grid next year.

    somehow though, I doubt it.

    however, Ill get on the phone to mastercard to see if they want to do a sponsorship deal with lola!

  34. Is it true taat Lola is owned by an Irish Guy and will be badged as an Irish outfit!

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