Max Mosely attempted to dazzle the world by announcing that no less than 15 bids for entry into the 2010 F1 Championship were lodged, all as a result of his amazing new plan to reshape F1. Nevermind the fact that the last time the FIA opened up the entry process, 22 teams bid to enter, but not a single one ended up making the grid the following season. Further tarnishing Max’s excitement is the potential departure of the eight FOTA teams, including Ferrari and McLaren.
In the midst of heated exchanges between FOTA and the FIA, these 15 bids were considered and USF1, Manor and Campos were selected to round out the 13 team grid for 2010. This left Lola out in the cold. Lola reported last week that they would have further discussions among themselves and decide whether they would allow their entry bid to stand for the new June 19th deadline that the FIA has given to the FOTA teams to withdraw their conditional entry.
According to Autosport, Lola has now withdrawn their entry bid to be involved next year. They were reportedly very dissapointed not to be included on the entry list, especially since they have already invested lots of time and resources into this potential bid. Lola had been working on a car design for over 7 weeks and had model of their F1 2010 challenger in the windtunnel for the last week. Needless to say, they were pretty far along. And given the fact that Lola is a race car manufacturer, it would seem to indicate that they would have very little trouble funding the startup costs for the team, since they already have almost all of the necessary gear at their facility.
So what can we read into Lola withdrawing their bid at this time. Wouldn’t it make more sense to wait and see if the conditional entries of the FOTA teams is accepted or rejected on Friday before bailing out? Maybe. Maybe not. If Lola got in on the first round, that means they would have possibly been part of a 13 team championship comprised of all the returning F1 teams. But now, their only hope of making the grid is if the FOTA entries are rejected. Lola may have been very interested in being part of F1 with Ferrari, McLaren, Williams, Red Bull and Brawn. But the prospect of laying out so many resources to be accepted into a championship fighting with only Williams, Force India and a slew of new teams was not one they wished to face.
Another possible reason for their withdrawal was surmised by grandprix.com. They could possibly be looking to join the rival FOTA series. That is not out of the realm of possibility since the saber rattling between the FIA and FOTA only seems to be heating up as we approach the Friday deadline.