With a crucial 13th spot on the grid, left vacant by stillborn USF1, it seems that Italy’s Durango is actually the folks behind the Villeneuve bid to enter F1. Durango president Ivone Pinton explains:
“I really hope together we will find a place,” he said. “We still don’t know where the car would be built, but the team’s base will definitely be ours, in the Veneto (region of Italy)” added Pinton, who ran Villeneuve’s car in the Dubai-based Speedcar series until it folded last year.
“As well as being the driver, I’m sure he will make a useful contribution to the company. I think he’s preparing a job to do after he hangs up his helmet.”
I do recall the announcement that Durango would seek entry but there was some hand-wringing over the viabiulity of that s they pulled out of GP2. So perhaps they have found some cash resources from former F1 driver and champion Jacques Villeneuve to support the efforts. Then again, perhaps that horded cash by canceling their GP2 operation in order to present a better, well-funded F1 operation? All guesses on my part but at least we know that the Durango bid is now actually Villeneuve bid.
I suspect JV has some skin in the game because if he doesn’t, it’s not his team. I also suspect that an operation such as ProDrive or Lola would be better placed to enter the series than Durango and this leaves me with a notion–why not purchase HRT? How about Virgin? Why not Toro Rosso? Why not team with Zoran Stefanovich of the elusive Stefan GP?
ART bowed out of the running due to financial concerns as Nicolas Todt suggested that long-term financial funding had not been secured (something USF1 would have done well to be mindful of) but I wonder how much long-term cash reserves Durango has. With current rumors, via driver changes on two contiguous race weekends, that HRT are possible candidates for closing shop prior to year end, perhaps Durango could use some of their cash reserves to invest and continue the project.
It’s all ridiculous speculation on my part but thinking out loud is one of my weaknesses so I appreciate your patience. Now what do you think of the Durango/Villeneuve Racing marriage? Seem like a viable operation to enter F1 and meet the 107% rule for 2011?