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GP Week : Issue 78
EXPERIENCED engineering companies Lola and Prodrive says it won't apply for a grid slot next year because there isn't time to be ready for the start of the 2011 season. The tender process has come as a result of USF1's failure to make the grid this year. Lola and Prodrive originally applied for 2010, but their entries weren't granted by the FIA. The only applicant to have announced its candidacy is former GP2 team Durango, who quit the junior series last year due to financial troubles. The deadline to submit a formal expression of interest expired on Thursday, April 15. "A 2010 entry under the cost capped and performance balanced criteria was perfect for Lola," said Lola owner Martin Birrane. "We already have F1 standard facilities at our headquarters in Huntingdon. Sadly our well-developed 2010 F1 project, which included a significant wind tunnel programme, had to be frozen in June 2009. "The recently announced applications for 2011 has left us with insufficient time to prepare for what would be a quite different programme." Prodrive and Aston Martin magnate David Richards says the fortunes of the new teams this year -- Lotus Racing, Hispania and Virgin Racing -- plus the still-born USF1 prove how tough it is for start-ups. "As expected, we've witnessed the financial and technical challenges that the new teams have faced this year in just getting to the grid, let alone being competitive and whilst I have enormous admiration for their efforts I don't believe this is an appropriate strategy for Prodrive or Aston Martin to adopt." Durango boss Ivone Pinton claims he has new investors in place and the team is series about F1, despite being uncompetitive and under-funded in GP2. "I like to consider that after so many years spent pushing young drivers to become future champions, now the time has come to strongly push Durango as a team towards the motorsport pinnacle." In GP WEEK's opinion, it is highly unlikely we'll see another team on the grid in 2011. Prodrive and Lola say no to F1 Durango remains the only team to publicly announce its tender. • 10