ART submits F1 application for 2011
ART Grand Prix is thought to be the leading contender to fill the final place on the 2011 Formula One grid after co-owner Nicolas Todt confirmed the multiple GP2 and Formula 3 title-winning team has submitted its entry for next season.
No less than 15 teams have applied for the final place on the 2011 grid with June 21 set as the deadline for the teams' applications. Spanish squad Epsilon Euskadi, Serbia team Stefan GP and ex-GP2 outfit Durango are among the other teams vying for a possible 2011 F1 slot.
"The news that we have proposed ART is real, but at the moment it's just a request, there is no certainty we'll take the start next season," Todt told Italian magazine Autosprint. "Realistically, I think it won't be easy to take part in the 2011 F1 championship, because it's not easy to set up a programme with very high costs.
"In light of this, I didn't want to make bold statements over something that still needs to be defined. If we don't make it, then it won't be a drama. We'll carry on working over this project, and if it doesn't happen next year, then we'll try again in the future."
Todt said that Formula One was always a long-term ambition for the team given its success in the feeder categories, but he is keeping his expectations to a minimum at the moment.
"We are ambitious, and obviously after having won a lot in the various series we've taken part for years, you want to go on and do better. After F3 and GP2, the logical step is F1. The big difference is that it's a gigantic step, and we are aware of the difficulty with this challenge. That's why I've never announced we'll be in F1, I don't like to get visibility when I'm not certain of the programmes, because I don't want to be regarded as a person who only talks.
"We are working with great care on a project, we don't want to damage what we've done to this day over the years. The plans include synergies, but we don't want to damage the team that works in GP2, GP3 and F3. We want to enter F1, but only if we manage to have a long-term programme, because even though F1 now costs 30-35 per cent less compared to a few years ago, it nevertheless remains a huge challenge for privateers."
Todt has close links with Ferrari due to his father but was quick to play down the chances of a lucrative partnership with ART.
"I have a great relationship with Ferrari, I highly esteem Stefano Domenicali," he said. "If we get chosen and we get a chance to work with Ferrari, then it will be great, but the truth is that there's nothing at the moment.
"We are also a Mercedes team in F3, so it's easy to also link us to Mercedes, and we have other links too. But the truth is that there's nothing yet."