OCTOBER 17, 2004
More details about Team Dubai F1
The new Team Dubai F1 operation is going to be a nice little earner for McLaren - but at the expense of Jordan Grand Prix, which had hoped that the Dubai group would buy into the team. There are still some potential buyers left for Jordan but time is running out.
The Grand Prix Investments company which is behind the idea has announced that after looking at various possible options for the future decided that the acquisition of an existing team would not demonstrate the right level of commitment and the level of excellence that the new team wishes to achieve. It was concluded that the team would inevitably be linked to the old team's brand. The result of this decision will be expensive but obviously this is not the issue with the Dubai consortium, as we predicted, involves Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of the Dubai Civil Aviation and the Emirates airline. It is expected that the team will run in the blue and yellow colours of Dubai, as seen over the years with the Victory Team in offshore powerboat racing.
"Dubai is committed to developing and supporting world class expertise in carefully-targeted high-technology industries," said Sheikh Ahmed. "Formula 1, with its focus on technological and engineering innovation, provides us the perfect environment in which to develop and demonstrate our skills in these cutting edge areas."
Maktoum added in the statement that the developments were the first step in an investment and development programme for the motorsport and automotive industry in the United Arab Emirates.
According to the team's latest announcement work will begin next year on a technical centre and windtunnel in Dubai, presumably this will be located on the industrial park at the new Dubai circuit and while the team will be headquartered in the region, manufacturing will be done in Britain, possibly at the old McLaren factory in Woking. A spokesman for the group said that the new team would get the same specification engines as McLaren.
The statement said that the new team has already filed the documentation necessary and will pay the $48m deposit with the FIA to secure a place in F1 in 2006. The team will not be able to claim any TV money (estimated at at least $15m a year) for the first three years. It s not clear how much money McLaren will be charging for technical assistance but a deal between Ferrari and Sauber currently accounts for around $30m of Ferrari income.
The big problem for Team Dubai F1 is that customer teams are rarely allowed to beat the mother team and so in the long term the team will have to go its own way if it wishes to succeed in F1.
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