Lola has announced that it is starting a Formula 1 project following the recent cost-cutting measures introduced by the FIA World Motor Sport Council.
It is understandable that more parties are now considering Formula 1 in 2010, after the governing body outlined a £30 million budget cap option for the teams. But for a company that had such a disastrous F1 experience as recently as 1997 (above), Lola’s plans certainly came as a bit of a surprise.
Over the last 10 years, however, Lola has turned its fortunes around, culminating in an unprecedented seven cars on the grid for the 2008 Le Mans 24 Hours. In that time it has invested heavily in new technology, including an F1-standard wind tunnel, the latest CFD and FEA programmes, and a seven-post dynamic chassis rig – all part of the reason for its success. If a company was ever in a position to put an F1 car on the grid as early as 2010, it is Lola.
Martin Birrane, executive chairman of the Lola Group, said: “The current necessity for F1 to adopt a responsible approach in times of economic uncertainty has created the ideal conditions for us to consider developing a car for the World Championship.
“Lola possesses the technical resources and know-how to develop cars capable of competing at the very highest levels of international motor sport, including F1. We are therefore embracing the WMSC’s timely announcements and assessing a relevant programme for F1 with a view to making a formal entry in the coming weeks.”
Great news, I’m sure you’ll all agree. So, who should drive for one of the most British companies competing at the top of international motor sport?