MAY 20, 2009

More paper tigers?

Several new organisations are now rumoured to be trying to get F1 entries, but once again there is little evidence to suggest that any of them have the money to compete. It is obvioulsy in the interest of some in F1 to make these seem as serious as possible, in order order to try to offset the impending disaster of a Ferrari withdrawal - and the possible disappearance of other teams. Among those that have been mentioned are Nick Wirth's Wirth Research. Wirth was a partner of Max Mosley in the Simtek company in the late 1980s and went on to establish the Simtek F1 team, although this did not last long. Wirth went on to design cars for Renault but in recent years has been working with Honda in American racing, notably designing the Acura ALMS cars, which are being run this year. Ray Mallock Ltd has some of the facilities it would need but again there is a question mark over money. The Wellingborough-based team has been running various programmes in recent years in sports cars and rallying, while also building GT40 replicas. Its primary project is the Chevrolet FIA World Touring Car Championship programme but with the impending collapse of GM there are no guarantees for that in the future. RML dates back to 1984 but the family's history in the sport dates back many years before that to Major Arthur Mallock who began building trials specials in 1939. Prior to the WTCC the company was actively involved in the BTCC since 1992 with Vauxhall, Nissan and Seat.

Another name that has been mentiond is that of Formtech, a composite company based on the old Super Aguri F1 team, which is run by Mark Preston. From what we hear it is not planning a fullscale F1 effort but rather looking to supply its services to any new entrants with money. The aim appears to be to move into the vacuum created when B3 Technologies, the UK based motorsport and aerospace research and development company, went into administration in December. The company began life when John Barnard acquired Ferrari's UK operation called Ferrari Design and Development in 1997 and worked on a variety of F designs as a sub-contractor until 2008, in addition to other projects such as the Team KR MotoGP team. In March 2008 Barnard sold the business to its management, but they were unable to keep the business going.