The FIA has delayed the decision on a future F1 team entry, which was due to be made today.
The governing body has written to the candidates but apparently not given a reason for the delay, or an alternative deadline. However it’s worth speculating that Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone might have different ideas about which team should get the nod.
It’s believed that only one slot is up for the grabs, although there is no reason why the field could not be extended to 26 cars, and that may be one of the factors behind the delay. There’s also the question of whether all the existing teams will survive over the next couple of years – and rejecting a viable candidate now might prove to be short sighted.
Intriguingly it seems that realistically Gene Haas is aiming for a 2016 start, while the Romanian project is ready to kick off in 2015, should it be given the go ahead.
Meanwhile it appears that the driving force behind the latter 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 – an ironic twist given that the rival Haas project is Ferrari-backed. He’s also a past chairman of loan company Global Finance & Leasing.
He is 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 country’s sports minister joined team representatives for the meeting with the FIA in France last week, where he stressed that F1 was seen as a valuable tool for that purpose – and a better option than building a circuit and hosting a Grand Prix, a strategy that has now been abandoned.
As noted here several weeks ago Dacia is also in the loop, which explains the team’s plan to use Renault engines.
Although Ecclestone was not represented at this week’s meetings he is fully aware of the state of both projects, and one would assume that the Romanian government involvement has considerable appeal for him.