Bringing back another Schumacher

There seems to be a concerted effort going on to try to give Stefan Grand Prix a little more credibility. There are reports that the Serbian operation has done a deal with Dallara and bought the rights to the car that was being built for Campos Meta 1. The suggestion is that the Spanish operation did not keep up to date with payments and so Dallara did what was necessary to reduce its exposure. Campos has since denied that this is the case and that the agreement between it and Dallara is “in place as agreed when the contract was signed back at the beginning of 2009”. The agreement means that Dallara cannot work with another Formula 1 team although it could provide some engineering services to a team with another chassis. If Dallara did sell the chassis to another team it would mean that Campos Meta 1 would be dead in the water and could only sell its entry to the highest bidder. However, breaking up such an arrangement would be unlikely to happen without months of legal wrangling. If Campos’s entry does become available there really is only one bidder because no-one else can have a car built and ready before the Chinese GP, which is the point at which new teams must appear. Stefan has some kind of a deal with Toyota to run its 2010 car and there is talk of Ralf Schumacher coming back to give the team some substance.

One can understand the desire to have 13 strong teams but what is not immediately obvious to the Formula 1 world is where the Stefan money is coming from. It is great if there is money as it will mean that interest in Eastern Europe will ramp up still further, following the success of Robert Kubica and the arrival of Vitaly Petrov, but what is important is that the team is solid and strong and does not fold up like a house of cards in a few months from now, leaving a poor impression that will rub off on all things Serbian.

The country has been through enough grief over the years.

17 thoughts on “Bringing back another Schumacher

  1. It’s been a long time since I read an article with the words ‘Ralf Schumacher’, ‘credibility’ and ‘substance’ in it. And, to be honest, I hope it’s a long time until I read another one. That’s not a gripe at you, Joe, but surely there must be better options available than little ol’ Ralfie. At least I hope there are, because it’s a sad state of affairs if there aren’t…

  2. Joe,

    If it is true that Stefan is shipping gear to Bahrain (as reported elsewhere), surely it must have received some encouragement from Bernie Ecclestone or others similarly placed. It would seem foolish to go to such lenghts merely to convince people of earnestness. Of course, there is a software industry term called “vaporware”: spreading rumors of a product that does not exist, to foil one’s opponent.

  3. I’d rather see Super Aguri back on the grid than this Stefan GP team.

    Flippant comment but its true, I’ve yet to get the impression that Stefan are elbowing their way in for the right reasons….

  4. Ralf has had a poor couple of years in DTM, continued to prove nothing to his doubters who thought he wasn’t ever the same after his US crash. It would be foolhardy to have him back in F1 and it’s hard to see what he can bring (poor marketing skills, arguably poor driving skills but maybe some experience setting the car up).

  5. Agreed Estophile

    Ralf Schumacher and substance (in the context of car racing) are mutually exclusive terms!

    The only thing that I could think of is that Ralfie has substantial financial backing, which is something that a new GP team would need.

    I haven’t seen a pic of Ralfie for ages – is he still fit enough to race an F1 car?

    Love the blog Joe!

    Cheers
    Julian F

  6. Have Stefan GP got their Schumachers mixed up?

    Could it be similar to the Americans buying the old London Bridge thinking they were getting Tower Bridge?

  7. Scott B. I agree with your reply but I think Bernie might have form on this. Donnington was actively encouraged and Mr. Gillett’s debenture scheme was a wing and a prayer in this economy – most people are thinking about putting food on the table first. Bernie’s encouraging them? I guess he would if it serves some end purpose.

  8. Joe,
    great blog, and like the new pic – makes you looks like Peter Griffin!

    Apparently the confusion regarding Campos/Dallara/Stefan was a result of Dallara taking a contract to help develop the Stefan (Toyota) chassis, NOT that Dallara gave Stefan Campos’ car.

    And really, WHY R. SCHUMI?
    It seems they’re just hopping on the ‘Schumi Media Hype’ express? surely there are other experienced drivers out there interested in a drive – what happened to Jaques Villeneuve? Last I heard of him, he was in talks with one of the teams to come back this year. Whilst that probably fell through, I definitely got the impression he was game for it…

  9. LOL! My husband made me watch Michael Schumacher’s appearance on Top Gear. Would you believe he did the worst track time of all guests?!! I agree though, the sport needs a “king”!

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