Lola eye return to Formula One
British company Lola are considering a return to next year's newly streamlined Formula One World Championship.
The Huntingdon-based motorsport specialists have not been involved since the failure of their works team in 1997, but the cost-cutting measures set to be implemented for 2010 have tempted them to reconsider.
"The announcement that Formula One teams may opt for a prudent, financially responsible cost-capped regime from 2010 has resulted in us deciding to fully evaluate the opportunity to develop a car to compete in the FIA Formula One World Championship," said Lola Group executive chairman Martin Birrane.
Lola were a consistent presence in the Formula One paddock from the 1960s, and they have entered discussions with several parties over the development of a car for next year.
They are well positioned to design and build a car given their expertise gleaned from other forms of motorsport, and Lola also possess key facilities such as a wind tunnel.
"The current necessity for Formula One to adopt a responsible approach in times of economic uncertainty has created the ideal conditions for us to consider developing a car for the World Championship," added Birrane, who bought the group in 1997.
"Lola possesses the technical resources, capability and know-how to develop cars capable of competing at the very highest levels of international motor sport, including Formula One."
Aston Martin also considering cut-price F1
Aston Martin, headed by former BAR team boss Dave Richards, could be persuaded to enter F1 next season in the wake of F1's proposed budget cap.
According to The Times, 'As many as eight candidates are vying for three places on the grid' next season and, hot on the heels of news that Lola are eyeing a return to the sport, the newspaper reports that Richards, chairman of Aston Martin, 'is waiting for Max Mosley, president of the FIA, motor sport's world governing body, to push through next week radical financial reforms that will cap the annual budgets of teams at £30 million. If Mosley gets his way for the start of a cut-price Formula One - and the president is most persuasive - Richards will push the button to enter a new team next season.'
This isn't the first time that Richards has made a play to enter F1 with his own team, as his Prodrive squad were set to join the sport in 2008 as the then-12th team. But the plan never came to fruition as spiralling costs and a ban on customer cars saw Richards pull out. This time, though, he's confident that competing in the sport could be viable so long as Mosley sticks to his plans for a budget cap.
"This is a great time to come in," Richards said. "If budgets are capped to a sensible level, everybody will benefit. Instead of Formula One being a contest of the teams with the most money, it will become a Championship for engineers with ingenuity and great drivers who can show their skill, as it was years ago."
The Aston chairman is now set to have talks with his Middle Eastern backer in the hope that they will once again consider the idea of F1.
"Nothing is decided yet," he said. "But the key to all of this is the financial reality that the budget cap will bring. Take a £300 million budget and, in reality, all you really need is a tenth of that. Things just got hopelessly out of control. What Max has come up with is not just eminently sensible but crucial to the survival of the sport. This way, new teams can become involved at a sensible price and with a chance of being competitive."