Lola to be second new F1 team in 2010?

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.

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

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  1. Arthur954 said on 22nd April 2009, 20:07

    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. Raceaddict (@raceaddict) said on 22nd April 2009, 20:17

    Moneytron Onyx 2.0!

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

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

  4. Scootin159 said on 22nd April 2009, 20:44

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

  5. frecon said on 22nd April 2009, 20:46

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

  6. Colin Sanders said on 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!!

  7. mkh1 said on 22nd April 2009, 21:04

    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.

  8. Dane said on 22nd April 2009, 23:36

    Any idea of who the drivers may be?

    • Gman said on 23rd April 2009, 1:53

      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 ;)

    • Kovy said on 23rd April 2009, 2:25

      di Grassi and Anthony Davidson, too.

  9. the stig said on 23rd April 2009, 0:01

    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. Gman said on 23rd April 2009, 1:44

    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. Jay said on 23rd April 2009, 3:46

    +1 for Anthony Davidson!

  12. Ivan Nafok said on 23rd April 2009, 4:05

    That’s good. More teams, more competition.

  13. Ivan Nafok said on 23rd April 2009, 4:10

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

  14. mp4-19 said on 23rd April 2009, 4:24

    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?

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 23rd April 2009, 8:48

      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.

    • ajokay said on 23rd April 2009, 9:02

      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 said on 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!

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