Tag Archives: Zoran Stefanovich

Stefan GP confirms F1 2011 bid

Stefan GP's new logo

Stefan GP's new logo

After many weeks of silence, Stefan GP have now said that they are to bid for the final slot on the grid for the 2011 season. Also, this time, they have come prepared.

First of all, they have announced a deal with the Mayor of Stara Pazova to construct a Stefan Technology Park. It contains a racing circuit suitable for Formula 1 racing, and a technical complex for Stefan GP headquarters. It has also been claimed that this technology park will be on par with the top teams’ facilities.

Secondly, Stefan GP have released info on what drivers they have and will be talking to. On their site, they list these 12 drivers as Jacques Villeneuve, Narain Karthikeyan, Kazuki Nakajima, Pastor Maldonado, Bartrand Baguette, Sebastien Loeb, Ralf Schumacher, Christian Klien, Karun Chandhok, Takuma Sato, Adrian Valles and Alex Margaritis. However, I must feel that some of these drivers must be annoyed at this news being released.

Most of these drivers make sense, but Loeb? Yeah right. When he tested for Red Bull a few years back, he was only a few tenths off the main drivers’ times after an hour. If he ever comes to F1, it will never be with a small team.  Also, I have a feeling that Ralf Schumacher’s infamous wage requests when he was at Toyota might not be a good choice for a new team like Stefan. Otherwise, they have a good selection of young drivers to choose from, and they have already talked to all of them.

Next up, Zoran Stefanovich spoke about keeping motivated after being rejected for the 2010 grid position:

A great man by the name of Sir Winston Churchill once said 
something that I try to implant into the minds of the people 
in my team. It's something along the lines of: NEVER, NEVER, 
NEVER GIVE UP! In the last almost 12 months you were all 
witnesses of the fact that I strongly stand behind my beliefs.

I still believe that F1 would be a much more interesting 
competition with SGP, and my team and I feel like the battle 
is just starting. We want to be a part of F1 for both the long 
and short term future, and I hope that we will finally have 
the success we deserve.

This quality is shared by every person who has changed the world. 
NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP! Thank you for supporting us, and 
I hope to see you at GP soon!

Best Regards, Zoran Stefanovic

I must admit that with all of this I'm more trusting of Stefan GP, albeit not completely. They are much more organised, and now have plans for the future as well. The only thing they need now is the return of the technical partnership with Toyota, which they had used to develop their 2010 car.

What do you think? Should Stefan GP be given a chance to prove themselves, or should the grid spot be given to an established team like Epsilon Euskadi?

Stefan GP ends Toyota partnership

Stefan GP has now ended their technical partnership with Toyota

Stefan GP has now ended their technical partnership with Toyota

Stefan GP have announced today that they have ended their technical partnership with Toyota. The Serbian team, led by Zoran Stefanovich, had bought Toyota gearboxes, chassis and engines in expectation of getting a grid slot this year. However, since their application was rejected by the FIA, there will be no need for this partnership this year.

Stefanovich said:

"For 2010, it's not feasible to do it anymore. We are very grateful to Toyota, which is a great company and doing a 
great job in what they are doing. They are now organising things differently - they are now more profit-centered in 
TMG in Cologne.
We are looking for a solution which is feasible for us all the time. At the moment there is no opportunity to 
organise anything. We're basically looking to see which direction we will go in the very near future."

After this, he stated that another partnership with the Cologne squad was possible if the team were looking into applying for the 2011 F1 championship. At the moment, the FIA are open to submissions for the 13th grid place, and the reserve team. It is currently unclear if Stefan GP are going to apply for this position.

Hopefully they will, having come so close this year. To get hold of a reliable supply of vital car parts like they did is a great way of starting up an F1 team, and hopefully they can do the same next year. If they don't, then they're just giving up to a governing body which seriously mishandled what should have been a welcome sight, seeing many new teams in F1.

Stefan GP fires up car for first time

Zoran Stefanovich with Mike Coughlan

Zoran Stefanovich with Mike Coughlan

The Stefan GP team, who have yet to be placed on the entry list for this year’s world championship, have fired up their SF01 car for the first time.

The SF01 was actuallt designed by Toyota, which Stefan took over when Toyota dropped out of F1 last year.The engine start-up happened in Toyota’s old Cologne factory, which Stefan GP now uses, apart from two small exclusive areas.

Speaking to Autosport, Zoran Stefanovich says that everything is going according to plan, and the car will be ready for its initial test in Portimao later this month. However, they are still working on a tyre supply deal for this test. In a radio interview, he said:

“This morning, 19 February 2010, was another stepping stone for Stefan Grand Prix. This morning at 8:00, the first car – Stefan 01 – was fired up for the first time.”

“The car ran faultlessly, there was no problem whatsoever, and we could race or test on a racetrack, but we’re just waiting for tyres.”

At the moment, the Stefan GP team is compiled of 60 people, plus the former workers of Toyota, because of the two teams’ collaboration deal.

However, even if the test runs smoothly, Stefan GP still do not have a place on the entry list for 2010. It is believed that the team will only get a place if Campos or USF1 drops out, which seems likely. Stefanovich stated that he is expexting news from the FIA soon:

“We are expecting it to be clarified relatively shortly because all of us know what the situation is. In the meantime we are working very heavily on sorting out the drivers’ contracts.”

I mentioned last month that one of the drivers would be Kazuki Nakajima, and I was right, with Stefanovich confirming this today. Also, he revealed that the team are in negotiations with former F1 champion Jacques Villeneuve.

“At the moment we have to say that we are very near. We are very near to a contract with Jacques Villeneuve, and probably also with another driver as our reserve driver. But the first one which will be with us is Kazuki Nakajima.”

I’ll be honest, I really don’t trust this team. First of all, Bernie Ecclestone has been in talks with the Serbian Prime Minister regarding Stefan GP, and when Bernie gets involved, the results rarely go well. Then, of all the engineers Zoran could have got, he went for Mike Coughlan. I hope you remember him as the McLaren engineer who stole information from Ferrari in 2007, and then went straight to Honda (with Nigel Stepney) for a job application. He allegedly attempted to sell the technical information on to other teams as well. I’ve never trusted him since, and I won’t trust any team around him.

Even if Campos or USF1 do drop out, the FIA don’t hand out places on the grid that quickly. Hopefully we can wait until 2011 and see more about this team.

Stefan GP to launch on 25th, and test 2 drivers

Zoran Stefanovich with Mike Coughlan

Zoran Stefanovich with Mike Coughlan

Despite still having no entry for the 2010 world championship, Stefan GP have now announced that they are to test their new car at Portimao, Portugal, on the 25th February.

The car will be launched a few days before this test. I talked earlier today about them sending equipment to Bahrain, now they have moved forward with the news that they will spend 3 days testing in Portimao.

Stefan GP have also said that they are to test two drivers at this 3-day test. If they get a place on the 2010 grid, these two will probably become the team’s drivers. It is understood that Kazuki Nakajima will be one of the drivers.

The car, called the Stefan S01, has been developed by the team, but with technical support from Toyota, ever since Stefan GP bought their data, parts, and chassis. The engine, to be called the Stefan RG-01, has also been serviced by Toyota.

Clearly, the team are very confident, but will it pay off? It is understood that Zoran Stefanovich, the team owner, believes that two teams (probably Campos and USF1) are in trouble financially. He and the team believe that at least one of these teams will not make it to Bahrain, so Stefan will be ready to take their place. That is, if the FIA give them the place.

After all this effort, Stefan should be given a chance, but not while there’s 13 other teams on the grid. I’m getting a bit tired of all the rumours of the new teams struggling, so a stable new team would be a welcome sight.

Stefan GP heading to Bahrain

Despite not being on the entry list for the 2010 championship, Stefan GP will still turn up at the Bahrain GP in expextation of racing.

A statement on their site read:

“SGP becomes the first team in F1 history who [sent] a 40 foot container full of equipment to the race in Bahrain without having entry for 2010 season!”

Just a few days ago, we found out that Stefan GP had acquired Toyota’s technical data and parts. With their chassis, they certainly have potential.

Still though, it’s very risky (and quite arrogant) to announce this so early. I’m not sure the FIA would approve these actions. Anyway, the only way Stefan GP would get on the entry list is if one of the current teams drops out. Clearly, Zoran Stefanovich believes that either Campos or USF1 doesn’t have the drive to get to the grid.

Or, even if they aren’t allowed to race, they could always do a Hans Heyer

Stefan GP have deal with Toyota

Toyota's technical data may go to Stefan GP

Toyota's technical data may go to Stefan GP

Stefan GP have claimed that they are on course to enter Formula 1, as they have agreed a deal with Toyota.

A statement on the Stefan Gp site said:

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

It’s good to see that Toyota’s technical data hasn’t been wasted. Martin Whitmarsh said earlier today that it was odd that nobody had yet aquired Toyota’s technical information.

Toyota had already started on their Tf110, so it is obvious that Stefan GP was planning to race that car as their S-01 for 2010. This is because they claim they have already passed the mandatory FIA crash tests, and was being sent for further testing.

At the moment, there are already 13 teams on the grid, and some teams (ie. Williams and nobody else, surprise surprise!) do not want 14 teams on the grid. So, at the moment, the only way for Stefan GP to get in is if another team drops out. Campos, USF1 or maybe Renault in a year’s time would be the only chances.

However, there is little to no chance of them getting to the grid for 2010 grid. However, another opportunity arises here, as that means that Stefan GP can offer unlimited testing to as many young drivers as they want, for an entire year. Not only would this be a brilliant opportunity for many young drivers, but it would give huge amounts of technical data to the team. Toyota did this in 2001, where they decided to stay out of entering F1 for an extra year, and do more testing.

Campos insists he will make it to the grid

Adrian Campos

Adrian Campos

The boss of the new team Campos Meta 1, Adrian Campos, has denied speculation concerning his team’s finances, and insists his team will make the grid in Bahrain.

In an interview with BBC Sport, he said that, while he was looking for more money, he would make it to the first race. Sources indicate that A1GP boss Tony Teixeira is interested in buying a stake in the team.

The Italian car constructor, Dallara, also confirmed that Campos was up to date with its payments.

“It is not true, not from our side at least [that Campos are behind on payments],” said Dallara chief executive officer Andrea Pontremoli. “We are still proceeding to build the car and it has passed its crash tests.”

Campos has also talked about his second driver decicion. The team appears to be expecting funds from this new driver, which indicates that they want a pay-driver. Two names that Campos admit they are in talks with are Vitaly Petrov and Pastor Maldonado. There appears to be a third driver in the mix, but Adrian would not say who he was.

The idea of Zoran Stefanovich buying out the team, to rename it Stefan GP, appears to have also been ruled out, with Campos saying:

“I don’t want to sell my part of the team and I will remain the team principal – the condition to be a shareholder is to accept all the existing contracts.”

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