A Dubai F1 team emerges

UPDATE We are bumping this rumor up to 'fact' today based on this interview with a team spokesperson. [Excerpts] Pitpass contacted Grand Prix Investments (GPI). We began by asking why Team Dubai F1 had chosen to take the (highly expensive) decision to start from scratch, rather than purchasing Minardi, Jordan or even Jaguar. "Have you got the press release?" said a GPI spokesman. "There's nothing really to add to what's in the release, that gives the genuine reason why. This is no slight on the teams we spoke to, and we were, as you'll know from the rumors, talking to a number of teams," he continues. "But it was felt that Team Dubai F1 needed to establish its own identity from the beginning. We want to create our own identity and our own brand values, this is no slight whatsoever on the teams we talked to, far from it, we have nothing but compliments for them. Nonetheless, that's the decision that was made."

"Initially the aim of the team is to get a credible engine and technological offering and then move on," he replies. "That's why it was decided to go for quality, the likes of Mercedes and McLaren, proven winners who understand not just winning, but understand the sport. A partnership with Mercedes and McLaren, in terms of providing technical support, demonstrates the genuine wish to build a successful team." Asked if the team has any ideas regards personnel, the GPI spokesman responds: "Nothing that can be released at this time, but obviously yes." There is unlikely to be any further information made public regarding Team Dubai F1 until mid November – after the holy month of Ramadan – when an official press conference will be held in Dubai. Finally, we ask for confirmation that the project has the backing of the Dubai royal family. "It's the official team of Dubai," he replies. 10/16/04 Team Dubai F1 has announced it will enter the Formula 1 World Championship in 2006, with help from McLaren-Mercedes. The owners of the project have entered into exclusive negotiations with the German manufacturer for a supply of engines and McLaren for technical assistance on the chassis.

Hot on the heels of the Midland F1 project launch two weeks ago, the owners of the new Arab concern have confirmed that Dubai F1 will not after all be based on an existing team and will set-up its own F1 operation over the coming year.

Jordan, which is actively seeking investment and an engine supply for next year, had been in talks with a senior member of the Dubai ruling family, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, over the sale of the team. But the talks fell through and now Team Dubai F1 has been formed as an independent outfit. [Editor's Note: This certainly is bad news for cash-strapped Jordan]

"We ultimately concluded that the acquisition of an existing team would never enable us fully to demonstrate our own commitment and excellence since success would inevitably have been linked with the existing team's brand and values," said Team Dubai representative Tim Fulton.

Team Dubai F1 said in a statement that it planned to place a US$48m bond with the FIA to secure its entry in 2006 and that work is to begin early next year on a technical centre and wind tunnel in Dubai, while the manufacturing facilities for the project will be based in England. Autosport

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