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Forza Rossa granted an entry to race in F1 in 2015

  • Published on 30 Oct 2014 12:44
  • comments 1
  • By: Rob Veenstra
With Caterham now in administration, the backmarker's former management may be returning its focus to the Forza Rossa project. Before the mysterious investment group bought Caterham from Tony Fernandes earlier this year, Colin Kolles was deeply involved in trying to get a Romanian project called 'Forza Rossa' up and running with FIA approval.

Amid the fallout of the Caterham collapse, it emerged that involved with Kolles in the Leafield project was someone called Constantin Cojocar. During its recent ownership dispute with the Kolles team, Caterham Group claimed the new operating company was owned by "one of their cleaners".

But writing in the Independent newspaper, F1 business journalist Christian Sylt says Cojocar is also a former professional footballer for Steaua Bucharest, a Romanian club. Sylt claims court documents as Caterham went into administration quote Cojocar as confirming that Forza Rossa has been granted an entry to race in F1.

"In June 2014, Forza Rossa received a letter of intent from the FIA allowing it to enter formula one in the next two years," Cojocar said. "Forza Rossa hopes to race in the 2015 season, but time to prepare is running short."

Funding may also be a problem. Although the project is led by Ion Bazac, a former Romanian government minister, Cojocar admitted that Caterham collapsed because investors failed to pay running costs. "I understand that Forza Rossa is looking at other possible arrangements for 2015 and I have found it very difficult to contact my backers in Romania," he said.

It is a strange time in the second half of the F1 grid at present, as the sport's two backmarkers including Marussia fail but Forza Rossa and Haas F1 Team look to get up and running. A crucial date is 1 November, when teams must pay a $500,000 fee to officially enter the 2015 world championship, according to the Swiss newspaper Blick.

Daniel Ricciardo, meanwhile, may now work for one of F1's richest and most competitive teams, but the Red Bull driver actually made his debut in 2011 for the now-defunct HRT team. Speaking in Austin, he said it is a shame F1 is losing more backmarkers. "It (HRT) was definitely a good stepping stone," said the Australian. "It allows you to learn under the radar."

"So for that it would be a real shame, and for numbers in general. There's nothing like seeing a full grid -- it's a great spectacle. From that side and from the driver development side, we need more cars and teams. It would be a shame if this is a permanent loss," Ricciardo added. (GMM)

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  • One problem with the current vouch-in procedures used by FIA and the F1"owner" (Ecclestein) to license new teams appears to be that the latter do only due diligence and get financial guarantees sufficient for them without concern for the problems caused to the other teams (e.g., having to field 3rd cars) when new licensees fail because of poor or impatient start-up financing. The systems needs to have new & very strong incentives for FIA/the F1 owner to evaluate applications more broadly. For example, if any teams have to field 3rd cars because of other's financial collapse within, say, 5 years of entry then FIA/the F1 owner have to pay all costs of supporting, equipping and managing those extra cars/drivers & their pit crews at the races where they fill out the grid and compete.

    As for Riccardo's comments, F1 is an "apex" venue, not a incubator or nursery one. Charity and high tolerance should not be expected by new teams or their eager young drivers.

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    • Oct 30 2014 - 16:04

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