D he Formula 1 is a shark tank. It's hard to get in and easy to get out of. In 2010, then FIA President Max Mosley lured three new teams into the premier class with the promise of limiting the budget to 50 million dollars. LotusGP, Virgin and Hispania took a bite. Mosley could never keep the promise. At the end of 2016, the last of the three newcomers disappeared. He had renamed himself twice in the meantime. From Virgin in Marussia and finally in Manor.
HaasF1 came in 2016 and has already established itself in Formula 1 for the second year. The US racing team regularly scores points. Team boss Guenther Steiner invented a model with which even a private team can survive. Given the complexity of technology, it is the only possible way today. HaasF1 buys everything except the chassis and the aerodynamics from Ferrari.
A mood of optimism like 2010
Nevertheless, you need an annual budget of 100 million dollars to be in the highest motorsport category to be able to play along. That scares many off. Since Liberty Media took over the business, the scene has moved again. Americans have set themselves the goal of a fairer distribution of money and cost control. And there is already a spirit of optimism like it was in Max Mosley's time.
Ross Brawn, member of the board of directors of the new owners, reveals: 'We were definitely contacted by ten interested parties.' Among them are two Chinese investors. One has already been registered in the English commercial register under the name 'China F1 Racing Team Ltd.'. The other wants to team up with a Spanish Formula 2 team. Liberty forwards all applicants to the FIA. If you don't pass the hurdle in Paris, you won't get a license.
20 million euros as a guarantee
But how do you actually become a Formula 1 team? It is an expensive and lengthy process. First you have to convince the FIA in order to initiate an examination at all. Anyone who, like one of the Chinese applicants, introduces themselves at the Monaco GP and claims they want to compete in 2018 has no credibility.
In the second step, the application becomes public. Everyone can then read on the FIA website who is applying and with what principles. In FIA technical jargon this is called 'call of interest'. After that, the interested party must submit all documents to the sports authority. Where should the factory be, how many people he wants to hire, what tools he has, what engine partner he has, how the first five years will be financedshould.
If the documentation is sufficient, the applicant will be summoned to the FIA for a presentation and a question time. This is the first time that money flows. The registration fee is 150,000 euros. It is non-refundable even if the applicant is rejected. If the expert committee of the world association classifies the request as realistic, the biggest chunk is waiting. The interested party has to deposit a guaranteed sum of 20 million euros. He'll get the money back if he's been driving in Formula 1 for at least two years.