All the active F1 teams bar BMW have signed the Concorde Agreement committing them to F1 until the end of 2012.
But with BMW withdrawing their team next year, and former team owner Peter Sauber unable to complete a takeover bid before the deadline for signing the Concorde Agreement, there are doubts over whether the team will be rescued.
The FIA has therefore announced it is re-opening bids for the final slot on the grid, using the same process by which it appointed Manor, Campos Meta 1 and USF1 earlier this year. Who will win the final space on the grid?
Who could get it
On paper The Team Formerly Known As BMW are the front runners – it’s effectively a turn-key operation providing a buyer can be found quickly in order for development to continue on the 2010 car. They will also need a new engine supplier.
But I couldn’t help but notice hiw dejected Peter Sauber seemed at having failed to achieve a rescue of the team at the very short notice needed to get the Concorde Agreement signed:
I am incredibly disappointed and disconsolate. For me this is the bitterest day in my 40-year career in motor sport.
Although he can still obtain the final slot in F1 for the team, this remark suggests to me there may be complications preventing BMW from becoming an independent team as easily as Honda did with Brawn.
The Spanish outfit were first out of the traps in declaring their desire to take BMW’s place. They were also on the reserve list after the FIA’s first tender for new teams for 2010.
Prodrive have also expressed an interest in taking the final space on the grid. It is widely believed they had a Mercedes engine deal in place for 2010, which did not sit well with the FIA’s desire for the new teams to use Cosworths.
The entry headed by ex-F1 driver Alexander Wurz was another that made the reserve list for 2010.
After the first tender N.Technology won a place on the reserve list. But in June it withdrew its application and angrily criticised the FIA’s selection process.
Its parent company MSC is now taking the FIA to court over the selection process.
Much like N.Technology, Lola applied, failed, made the reserve list, and then withdrew.
Anyone without a Cosworth…
The controversy surrounding the FIA’s selection process concerns whether they demanded new entrants use the FIA-backed Cosworth power plants. This explains why some of the most well-regarded potential entrants such as Prodrive failed to make the cut.
One potential 2010 entrant, Zoran Stefanovic, has gone to the EU to complain about the selection process.
The appearance of Manor on the list of the three new teams for 2010 was a surprise If the FIA sticks to its pro-Cosworth tactics, we could have another unexpected name in F1 next year.