SEPTEMBER 3, 2004
Arden looking for an F1 future
The news that Dallara is working on a Formula 1 project for a mystery backer has led to all manner of speculation about the new team including some rather unlikely suggestions. Our understanding is that the car will be put together at Dallara but ultimately a new team will be put together. It remains to be seen whether this will be built around a new organization or whether it will grow out of an existing team. Although there are suggestions that the project might be run by Draco Engineering, it is much more likely (and logical) that the team will ultimately be based in Britain where the F1 infrastructure is largely based. There are some of the same elements available in Italy but Ferrari dominates the scene and has a tendency to take all the good people out of smaller teams, leaving them struggling. Thus setting up a new team in Italy is not really logical.
In Britain the F1 labour force is larger and more accessible and rather than having to lure skilled people to foreign countries, it is simply a question of convincing them to move down the road. Perhaps the most logical idea would be for the project to be joined up with Christian Horner, who wants to take Arden Motorsport into F1, but it may be that the new investors in F1 wanted their own branded team and Horner may not be keen to do that.
Horner is currently in Russia trying to find money for an F1 operation because he sees no future in GP2 and, having won the last three FIA International Formula 3000 titles, the team needs to move on. Horner has good connections in Russia, having built the team on a major sponsorship deal from the Lukoil company, which backed the team in its early days. That relationship ended without success and it was only afterwards that Arden began winning.
Horner hopes to be able to get into F1 by buying the intellectual property rights to a chassis from another team and getting hold of a customer engine. The major hurdle is the huge down-payment demanded by the FIA and finding the running budget for a team.
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