One final spot left on the 2010 F1 grid – who could get it and who won’t

The hunt is on to find a replacement for BMW

The hunt is on to find a replacement for BMW

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.
Peter Sauber

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.

Epsilon Euskadi

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.

Who won’t


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.

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82 comments on One final spot left on the 2010 F1 grid – who could get it and who won’t

  1. net.sticks said on 9th August 2009, 18:51

    No matter who deserves it… Its all polities (and mandatory signing with Cosworth engines…) FIA sucks! It’s corruption on its higher level, thanks to Mr. Mad Max and Bernie Dollars…

  2. TommyB said on 9th August 2009, 21:42

    Prodrive won’t get it. FIA would much rather see F1 become a single engined Formula full of GP2/F3 teams. Bad times

    • Maksutov said on 10th August 2009, 17:25

      Single engined Formula 1 will never happen. Ferrari, McLaren will never agree to it. The new Concorde agreement wont allow FIA to forcibly implement any new rules against the wishes of any one of the teams. Hence that will never ever occur.

  3. I don’t really understand why there is this preoccupation with Prodrive, is it just because they are a familiar name? Lower series teams like Manor and Campos may seem a poorer option but at least they’re promising their own cars and not just running copies of other cars on the grid. Why complain about a single engine formula of Cosworth users and then promote McLaren B as a better alternative? It makes no sense.

    I’d favour either whatever happens to BMW Sauber or Epsilon Euskadi. It may even be the latter’s indication of interest in taking over the slot last week that prompted the FIA to make this rapid move.

  4. Brian said on 10th August 2009, 1:51

    I have a completely non F1 question. What year did the show ‘Spaced’ air on British television?
    I just watched it over here in Canada on

  5. The Limit said on 10th August 2009, 4:38

    I found Peter Sauber’s comments dishearting too, but I still hold firm on my belief that something may be salvaged from the ruins of BMW Sauber.
    If Sauber is as far out of the loop as appears, then I fancy Prodrive to take that lone position left on the 2010 grid. They were my firm favourites to take over the former Honda team, before Ross Brawn stepped in and made them his own. Dave Richards is a wily character, abit like Brawn, and he has the knowledge and the dough to make a difference.
    As others have mentioned before, BAR Honda were not the same without Richards on the scene, and I bet good money on the fact that he is itching to get back in the game.
    As with Honda, the outfit left behind when BMW pulled out are very capable indeed. Its just too attractive a proposition for someone to turn down, providing they have the cash behind them and an adequate engine supplier.
    This new Spanish team are also a possibility, but my gut says that Prodrive will take over.

  6. m0tion said on 10th August 2009, 4:39

    F1 needs a non manufacturer engine supplier that is viable and 1-2 customers won’t do it. Maybe alternates may emerge like Mechachrome if Renault implodes or even Toyota using the US model if they pull out but due to the dirth of other possibilities doesn’t it mean fans should be viewing a viable no. of Cosworth teams as a positive?

    I don’t think the tragic white knight stuff on Sauber does much for the equation either. A bit like Branson or Ecclestone or even Brawn on the flip we are talking about people who sell high and will only put their own money back on the line when it is so low that it is virtually given away.

    And how come so little talk about the Concorde? We hear one sided statements about various parties signing their various versions but is that 1 complete set of signatures on 1 agreed document yet or is it just a negotiating stance by the various factions?

    • Maksutov said on 10th August 2009, 17:40

      And how come so little talk about the Concorde? We hear one sided statements about various parties signing their various versions but is that 1 complete set of signatures on 1 agreed document yet or is it just a negotiating stance by the various factions?

      With Max still in power who is to know what was, and what was not, signed. Maybe the letters will magically change after the agreement is signed.

  7. It should be noted that Prodrive only intend to enter if a customer chassis can be used.This is how the fully intended to enter F1.Somehow I don’t see customer chassis being allowed in 2010.

  8. GeeMac said on 11th August 2009, 9:53

    I really hope Prodrive get the last spot. They have done incredibly well in WRC and at Le Mans, I feel it would just be a matter of time before they could field a competitive F1 car. And don’t tell me you all wouldn’t love to see an Aston Martin in Gulf colours on the Grid!

    That said their customer chassis plans and lack of Cosworth Power won’t help them when the FIA consider their application.

  9. there doing a brawn tbh. they will pull out and get some pumped up team and win half of the races in 2010 then loose it

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