Stefan GP seal Toyota deal, Whitmarsh approves

Serbian businessman Zoran Stefanovic, owner of want-to-be F1 team, Stefan GP has announced they will secure technical assistance from Toyota Motorsport GmbH. The arrangement comes after the recently departed Japanese car giant announced they would sell some technical and gray matter materials from their failed F1 operation as well as the chassis they have already completed for the 2010 season.

Stefan GP

Reading the Reuters story on this, it seems that Stefan GP was the only team to take Toyota up on the offer.

“Stefan GP has already made its wishes clear to compete in Formula One,”

“Stefan GP has just come to a basic agreement with Toyota Motorsport GmbH that Stefan GP will receive technical supports from TMG.”

Stefan GP may be the only team in my recent memory to be the proverbial vulture waiting for the kill. It seems they are hinging their F1 aspiration on the failure of another teams bid to enter the season this year. Much talk and speculation has placed Campos Meta and USF1 as potential no-shows for the first race in Bahrain and interestingly Stefan GP is waiting in the wings with a crash-tested chassis and organized program ready to fill the void should it occur.

It seems a mighty gamble to me unless they are being provided information from Formula One Administration or the FIA (regulatory body) as to the likelihood of a slot or the assurance that they will have a slot come March 2010.

I also found McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh’s comment in the Reuters article intriguing as well. While Toyota seems to be helping out Stefan GP, contractually, Whitmarsh suggests that the team made a good move by acquiring the Toyota inventory and assistance while the other new teams missed a big opportunity. So much so that he insinuates they may have to help or bail out the minnows of F1 in a few months time.

“Quite a lot of these teams had an opportunity I believe to buy up a Toyota chassis, Toyota built two cars available by Christmas, and I am rather surprised some of them did not do that.

“They rather looked a gift horse in the mouth, I think, and made perhaps the wrong decision. They have had their own reasons for those decisions and we have got to see in the coming weeks and months whether we can help those new teams be there.”

So conspiracy theory would have it that a team who has no slot on the grid for 2010 is spending money and mirroring the preparation efforts of teams who are confirmed for the 2010 season. This team is also praised by one of the giants of F1 as being astute and more wise in acquiring Toyota’s inventory and assistance whereas the new team to F1 for 2010 failed to capitalize on the opportunity.

Making mountains out of mole hills here but the fact is, why create a team and spend the money to compete in the 2010 season on a gamble that one of the new teams won’t make it? Is this good business acumen or does Zoran Stefanovic know something we don’t?

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