Following the failure of BMW and Peter Sauber to reach a takeover deal on time to sign the new Concorde Agreement a vacancy on the 2010 has been created. Max Mosley wasted no time and wrote to the teams on his reserve list (unsuccessful candidates for 2010 F1 entry as well as BMW Sauber) informing them that about the newly available place on the F1 grid.
This may look harsh on Peter Sauber who still continues to look for a way to save the team he created in the early 90s. On the other hand the it is hard to blame FIA for this action. If anyone is to jump in and fill the empty space left behind by BMW they need to know sooner rather than later.
There probably will be some deadline for submitting new applications (although none was mentioned yet). BMW Sauber or whatever will it be after this season should still be in the best position to race next year. The team has everything in place except an owner and engine. The action taken by FIA and Mosley however makes it clear that the team is now treated in the same way as any other candidate for 2010 F1 entry. If they miss that deadline, they will be out.
We can expect the usual suspects like Prodrive, Epsilon Euskadi or N.Technology to be high on the reserve list. I am not sure who the other 3-4 teams would be. Lola was considered one of the favourites before the first selection process but the company has since ended their F1 efforts. The recently surfaced Stefan Grand Prix probably won itself no favours with FIA with their European Commission complaint. All the potential new entrants however do have one thing in common. They all planned F1 entry with their own facilities. None of them seems to be entertaining an idea to take over existing F1 team.
That may still change. Some serious calculations must be now going on. The F1 opportunity is again on the table. It is however August already. It does not leave much time to get a brand new car ready for early 2010 debut. At the same time there is an entire racing ready facility available at Hinwil with a car that simply only needs to be modified to 2010 rules. Yes, the car has been a dog this year but getting hands on it would save new team some serious time and money. The question is if the price asked by BMW would justify these savings.
One thing is clear – despite FOTA’s readiness to assist BMW Sauber the clock is ticking for Peter Sauber. He will not get as much time to sort out his team’s future as Ross Brawn and company had after Honda pulled out …