JUNE 24, 2004
Stefan Johansson and F1
Stefan Johansson says he wants to run his own Formula 1 team. The 48-year-old Swede, who raced in F1 from 1980 to 1991 with a variety of teams including McLaren and Ferrari, has been based in America since leaving F1. He raced in CART for five years before starting his own team in 1997, running a car in the Indy Lights series. He continued to drive in sportscar racing and that year won the Le Mans 24 Hours and the 12 Hours of Sebring. In the late 1990s Stefan's team ran a number of promising youngsters including Scott Dixon, Guy Smith and Ben Collins and Johansson began talking about running a CART team. In 1999 he announced plans of a team with American TV star Anthony Edwards but that never took off and the team ended up running sports cars in the American Le Mans Series until 2003 when Stefan took advantage of CART's subsidy scheme and put together American Spirit Team Johansson to run two cars in the series for Jimmy Vasser and Ryan Hunter-Reay. When the subsidies dried up the team was closed down at the end of last year.
Johansson runs a number of other businesses including a watch company, a go-kart track and a firm which manages Dixon. Having lived in Indianapolis throughout his competition career in the US, Johansson is now moving to the West Coast but says that he is interested in running an F1 team if cost-cutting measures under discussion make it possible to run a team using chassis built by other teams.
Inevitably, everything is dependent on money and as the F1 teams are not going to make it easy for anyone new to enter the sport, maintaining the current $48m bond for the foreseeable future, it may be some time before we see a Johansson team in F1. However, Stefan has shown that the ambition exists if he can figure out a way to break into the F1 game.
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