Any cynics who did not believe that Serbian businessman Zoran Stefanovic has serious plans for entering F1 with the assets of the former Panasonic Toyota team will have to think again pretty promptly, as the newcomer’s possible participation has been clearly acknowledged by Bernie Ecclestone, the F1 commercial rights holder.
Bernie also made it clear last weekend that, according to the terms of the Concorde agreement, teams are permitted to miss three races each year, a revelation which, I have to confess, I was unaware of, but which could throw a crucial lifeline to the Campos and US F1 teams who could ideally use a little more time to prepare their cars for the world championship fray.
“I think we won't see Campos and I don't think we will see the Americans,” Bernie told the Sunday Express. “They are going to ask to miss three races. In the Concorde Agreement, the teams are allowed to miss three races.”
He added: “They [Stefan] are going to take over Toyota completely – the team and motorhomes. They have got the money from the government; I've spoken to the prime minister. They are ready to rock-and-roll but they've not got an entry.”
Not yet, anyway. Although US F1 are struggling to be ready in time, they are resolutely determined to be on the grid as promptly as possible. Campos may, on the other hand, be seriously faltering. If they fail to make it, then expect the Toyota TF110 to be on the grid at least in time for the fourth race in China on April 18.