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?”

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

    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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. Prodrive might also enter F1 for 2010

    Maybe using Aston Martin engine too :O

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

  10. 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 :)

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

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

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