'Forza Rossa' Romanian F1 entry (2nd Update) UPDATE #2 The defeat of Romanian Prime Minister, Victor Ponta, in the country’s presidential election over the weekend appears to be a major blow to the ambitions of the Forza Rossa F1 project, that was aiming to enter the sport in 2015. The project, which was supported by Ponta’s government, has been very quiet since the summer, largely because of the messy election campaign, where a government-funded racing team might have caused unnecessary controversy.
Before the elections began in September, however, there was speculation that the purchase of Caterham F1 by new investors might have been related to the Romanian team. Recent investigations indicate that there was a connection, but not as obvious as was being suggested. From what we understand from Romania, the plan was for the new team to race with cars built for it by an independent entity called CF1 Manufacturing, under the leadership of John Iley. The company would not have used the Caterham base at Leafield but rather a different facility, into which much of the Caterham machinery and staff would have been transferred. The team itself would have been a separate entity.
The cars would have presumably started out as Caterhams because changing chassis names is not easy, although some teams these days do not call the cars after the team but rather use initials to make it easier to transfer ownership of the team later on. The Red Bull cars and those of Toro Rosso are actually known as RBRs and STRs but they are cleverly publicized as being Red Bulls and Toro Rossos. Thus, while 1MRT might have become Romanian-owned (as this entity held the entry), operations would have been run by independent companies, run by the buyers of Caterham. This is why they embarked on the purchase, as there was a clear business plan behind the idea. The Romanian government would thus only have had to provide funding and sponsorship. This would have been a neat way to get hold of an entry, and a modern chassis without having to build all the necessary infrastructure and without having to pay a vast non-refundable deposit to the FIA in order to lodge an entry.
The takeover of Caterham by the Administrators and the seizure of equipment was controversial some equipment and staff belonged to CSL and some to 1MRT. This explains why when bailiffs seized some equipment they were not allowed to auction it.
The fact that the man who was going to be supporting the idea has now lost the election suggests that the project will probably disappear. Joe Saward06/03/14 The FIA is understood to have finally granted an entry to the Romanian-backed FRR F1 Team project, although no official announcement has been forthcoming.
The FIA’s last public reference to the bid came on April 11, when the World Motor Sport Council granted an entry to Gene Haas but said it was “in the process of conducting further investigations for Forza Rossa,” using the name that forms part of the official FRR identity.
For reasons unknown this extra vetting process dragged on for more than six weeks. However, the governing body appears to have finally acknowledged last week that the project is financially viable.
While Haas has admitted that a 2015 start is highly unlikely FRR is believed to still be aiming for next year, despite the entry delay making life a lot tougher than it would be had it been granted alongside that of Haas on April 11.
However, FRR has a lot more elements in place compared to Haas. It is planning to use a Renault power unit, while the car will be built and run by a team put together by former Force India and HRT boss Colin Kolles at his base near Munich.
Front man for the project is Ion Bazac, a qualified doctor and former Romanian health minister. The 45-year-old has a number of business interests and is the country’s Ferrari importer, under the name Forza Rossa.
Bazac is also the president a consortium of private and state funded investors whose motive is to promote the interests of Romania, and who have the support of the government. Indeed, the Romanian sports minister met with the FIA early in the bid process. Adam Cooper Blog
06/03/14 (GMM) F1 looks set to have a twelfth team on the grid in 2015.
It has already emerged that Nascar team co-owner Gene Haas' US-based F1 project will probably not get up and racing until 2016.
But when Haas' entry was approved by the FIA in April, the governing body also said "further investigations" were ongoing for another "high standard" application filed by "Forza Rossa".
Forza Rossa, meaning 'red force' in Italian and also the name of a major official importer and seller of Ferrari road cars in Romania, is reportedly backed by Romanians and headed by former HRT boss and Romanian Colin Kolles.
Media reports this week say the FIA has decided to approve Forza Rossa's team entry. There has been no official confirmation.