Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

When is a team not a team? // The point at which speculation becomes a firm potential F1 entrant

Published by Christine

Yet another story emerged yesterday about a potential new team for Formula 1 and we all sighed just a little bit. Bassano raised a good point in the comments, suggesting that perhaps if he said he'd like to start an F1 team, that would also hit the headlines.

Naturally, Aguri Suzuki's past in F1, and the fact that he dramatically swore off the sport when he left in 2008, have made this a topic worth discussing, but the initial quote that sparked 1,000 articles was: "If it's physically possible I would certainly like to."

It might surprise you to know that I don't actually want to get into a discussion about the merits of creating fictional news from simple statements, but what this story did make me ponder was when we should actually start caring about a team. When do we start believing it really could happen?

The light bulb moment

Just recently, a plethora of names have emerged suggesting they'd like to (re-)enter F1. Lola, Prodrive, USGPE, these are all companies who are supposedly considering snapping up a spot on the grid. GP2 teams might make the jump if the budget caps are right, and Super Aguri are going to make a glorious return and prove us all wrong. Or are they?

When a team owner/former F1 personality/rich person suggests that F1 might be fun, that doesn't seem to be the right time to sign up to the mailing list and purchase a baseball cap from the merchandise store. However, if Bassano says he's going to enter F1, then I whole-heartedly believe him.

I can draw too

USGPE started out with just a name and a logo. The name changed, of course, but the logo seems to have stuck. They also are planning buildings, recruiting staff and designing cars. The talk of funding has been a little bit quiet, but perhaps that is because it doesn't need discussing. Donington wouldn't shut up about their capital plans and that hasn't worked out so well, just yet.

Perhaps it is different with Peter Windsor's team though. They are being created specifically for a Formula 1 entry, and thus you can tell the intent is genuine. What about Prodrive, where Dave Richards has plenty of other interests to keep him occupied? Will he just rock up one day and say the time is right? Or will we see the gradual progression of logo and car and sponsors?

Sign me up

For me, a team becomes real when it has an F1 entry secured and is testing out drivers. None of this: "we'd love to get Danica in the car." I want to see helmets on, laps completed, contracts signed. The FIA are increasing the number of teams to 13 next year, so they clearly believe interest is going to be raised. As yet, I haven't got as much faith as Mr Mosley. This month, the teams have to sign up if they want to get involved, and I can't believe that any of the names we have heard so far are ready to jump on board the F1 bus and get going. F1 is a sport of looking far into the future (although recent regulation changes would have you believe otherwise) and this just feels like too short notice.

Perhaps even being on the grid isn't enough though. Super Aguri's future was never really secure, even when they were trailing each Grand Prix. Maybe we should look to teams to start winning before we begin to put any faith in them sticking around. The unexpected will always happen, but once a team gets a taste of the champagne, it must make them more keen to stick around.

How do you feel about new team rumours? Any of them particularly grab your attention? Do you think Prodrive (or Aston Martin as they may be called) would be ready to sign on the dotted line? Are USGPE's car designs going as well as their logos? When should we really start to put our necks on the line and switch allegiance to a new team?