Forza Rossa gets an entry

The Romanian Forza Rossa project is understood to have been given an entry for Formula 1. The FIA decided not to decide back in April, but with the Haas project having been delayed until 2016 it seems that the federation has now agreed to allow Forza Rossa to have a try. It is expected that the project will use Ferrari engines, as the project is led by Ferrari dealer Ion Bazac. The Romanian project has a lot more elements in place than Haas did, which begs the question as to why the FIA decided to favour Haas at the start. This will mean that Haas’s programme is unlikely to be with Ferrari because there are rules restricting engine supplies. However the rules (as usual) are negotiable as they state that “a major car manufacturer may not directly or indirectly supply engines for more than three teams of two cars each without the consent of the FIA”. Thus the FIA could (in theory) agree to let Ferrari supply five teams (Ferrari, Sauber, Marussia, Haas and Forza Rossa, but this would likely cause upset. It is unlikely that Bazac would use another engine supply. He and his wife Camelia are the official Ferrari dealers for the country and have been since 2008. Camelia took over a Maserati franchise as early as 2002.

Forza Rossa has Colin Kolles’s team in Greding as a starting point, with manufacturing likely to be done by Holzer in Germany, aerodynamics by British consulting firm and design by a group of engineers who have worked together in the past on the HRT programme.

The main issue is the money but Bazac is said to have a consortium of private and state-funded backers.

66 thoughts on “Forza Rossa gets an entry

  1. Did you know Joe even on holiday you are the first to report this.

    Haas never made it a secret he might not make the grid in 2015 so as you said what was FIA doing. I really don’t like the fact that Haas is considering Dallarra and in a way I am glad that the won’t be able to use a Ferrari engine. if it’s 2016 what chance of a Honda engine or another player coming in or Mercedes power both would be more strategic partners for USA market rather than Ferrari.

    1. Sorry GarryT, but Joe wasn’t the first this time. It was reported a day before on Adam Coopers blog.

      1. I’m still counting when Joe gets “scooped” by, oh, in single digits ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. That makes no sense, does it? Maybe the other website doesn’t know he’s a Ferrari dealer…

      1. The site I got it from reported the Ferrari Dealer part and the Renault part. Stranger things have happend. BMW-Sauber-Ferrari just 2 years ago. Or Tata sponsoring a team (allthought Tata is more than just cars).

        1. “More than just cars” that’s a bit of an understatement, they own around 96 companies and have fingers in everything from heavy industrial to pure data and services all round the world, and are the data line supplier to the FIA. TATA are enormous, a modern keiretsu.

      2. But wasn’t this rumoured to be getting money from the Romanian government via Dacia, hence Renault?

        1. Several sources actually claim that they would run with Renault engines. And yes it would make a lot of sense because Dacia may provide some financial backing.

      3. It does makes sense, one just needs to be a cynical bastard. Like me.

        Think deeper and strip out instinctive presumptions on scruples.


  2. Colin Kolles being back in F1 is going to be interesting. Hasn’t he upset rather a lot of folks with his comments since he left?

    1. He upset a lot of people before he left, hence why he left *apparently. (*legal term)
      I understand he’s a close friend of BE so he’ll be fine. …Oh wait

      Although I was told he was a close friend of your’s Joe is that correct?

      1. I know Colin and have done for a long time. I think he is a pretty sensible guy and passionate about what he does. Some people don’t like him because he is forthright. I don’t think you know much about him.

        1. I think you sell me slightly short regarding what I may or may not know but as you confirm him as your friend I shall comment no more..

          1. I have no means of knowing what you know or do not know but you are not in F1 if you think what I wrote about Colin constitutes “friendship”. Friendship in F1 is very different to friendship in the real world although they two can be the same on occasion.

  3. I’m starting to sound like a grumpy old man, but does anyone remember the days (60s – 80s) when in order to get to F1 you started off with a race team in the lower formulae, buying cars at first, then starting to modify them and manufacture your own components. After years of success, working its way up through the lower levels, your team could make the jump to the big league, with a solid background of working together behind it…

    Life’s not like that these days, but for me it’s another reminder of the almost complete disconnect between F1 and what’s left of the pyramid of motorsport below it.

    1. Very good point. Then again, maybe whatever bigger players (non major manufacturer) remain in the lower formulae are too smart to make the jump into F1?

      1. Owing to spec racing, who are the bigger players in lower divisions with experience to develop a racing car from scratch? Noting that Sauber entered F1 via Le Mans, are there any endurance racing teams (non major manufacturer) who might make a switch?

      2. Martin – For example, that’s probably why DAMS still exists as a racing team. They got as far as building an F1 car (with Reynard) in the mid-1990s but couldn’t get enough money together and didn’t take the plunge, thus avoiding the fate of Pacific, Forti Corse and probably some others I’ve forgotten about.

    2. I agree and from my perspective I cannot see any value in either the Haas or now Forza Rossa entries. It all smacks to me as just Bernard trying to fill gaps on the grid that are ever likely to occur. What the FIA ought to be doing, is reconstructing the old motorsport pyramid so that the future of motorsport becomes sustainable. Just adding back markers to F1 to replace other back markers, is not sensible or desirable.

      1. No. But I’m not sure racecar manufacture looks all that healthy outside F1. A structure that allowed for teams to move up and down according to their success and/or funding might make for a more sustainable industry in the long term. There are probably many ways to skin that cat.

    3. Memory can be a little selective with age… Ensign, Tecno, AGS, Tico Martini, Osella and many others followed the slow but steady route, but some teams jumped in at the deep end.

      BRP was founded by Stirling Moss’s entourage, quickly entering F2 and F1 events, although the organisers had wide motor sport experience. BRP evolved into Yeoman Credit Racing, then into UDT Laystall Racing — arguably the first UK outfit funded by commercial (non-trade) sponsors.

      March entered F1 and almost every other category in 1970 after building a single F3 car in 1969. Matra entered F1 by the conventional route, establishing themselves in F2, but given that Matra built rockets and satellites, we can assume that they did not lack engineering ability. Given the company’s belief in doing things properly, engineers provided themselves with time. Hesketh jumped out of F2 as soon as they worked out that F1 was marginally more expensive but that there was prize/start money to be earned. Peter Connew briefly worked for Surtees before designing his own car which was built in a lock-up garage.

      When Jack Brabham and Bruce McLaren established their racing outfits, they were mentally ready for F1 but didn’t have enough money. Early production racing and sports racing cars were built to make cash.

      1. Good overview – although only BRP, March and Peter Connew jumped more or less straight into F1, the others all built up gradually as described in my original rant.

        And the Connew adventure, although an amazing achievement for what it was and a fantastic story, probably isn’t a good model for aspiring F1 manufacturers!

      2. Interesting that many of these cars are still around and racing in F1 historic/thoroughbred events – most going much faster than they ever did back in the day (but that’s another story!)

  4. I still feel for the Serbian Stefan Grand Prix outfit. They should have been given the chance instead of HRT back in 2010…

      1. I think that’s true for Stefan GP – but at the time it also appeared that some submissions were rejected that, on the face of it, *were* more convincing than those that did get the deals. The common factor in their lack of success appeared to be a lack of desire to use the customer Cosworth engine.

        1. @4u1e

          I think you’ve hit the nail on the head – it was the Cosworth engine issue, and, if I’m not mistaken, that kept Prodrive from entering F1 too?

          1. That’s my recollection. I’ve always assumed, without any particular evidence, that for political reasons Max Mosley needed several privateer Cosworth-powered teams that were not affiliated to a major car manufacturer.

    1. Whilst Stefan GP possibly looked impressive in the run up to Bahrain 2010 (i.e. staff in place, a potential deal to take over the Toyota car and talk of some interesting drivers), I’d suggest that at the time that the entries were given out Campos (as HRT was then) looked a better bet. The reason for this is the team had a decent pedigree in the lower formulae and Dallara (although never really successful in F1) had a good reputation.

  5. Is there any reason the FIA didn’t really report this? Their PR Dept needs an overhaul. It isn’t as though this is an insignificant piece of information.

  6. One would hope they will chose another name, though. The confusion with Forza India and/or Torro Rossa will be great for the ‘crowds’.

      1. What do you know/expect about Toro Rosso in the (near) future?
        I, for one, never really understood why Didi would need 2 F1 teams. If it is purely to give your drivers F1 experience, they could also follow other routes (like what they did did Ricciardo, entering him in an HRT for a while). For instance, have a Red Bull GP2 team. What do you think (or know) what will happen with them? Are they for sale or something?

      1. I should have indicated Joe i meant Hass . …. but then again anything can be done with enough cash !!

  7. Rumour is Nigel Farage (UKIP) will be team manager of Formula One’s first Romanian team ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. Trying not to be cynical, but on the face of it not much about this idea sounds all that convincing. Colin Kolles seemingly knows how to get some bang for a very few F1 bucks at least, but other than that there isn’t a lot that inspires confidence. At least Haas could point to a vast amount of money and some technical pedigree to substantiate the plan. Perhaps, being less known, Mr and Mrs Balzac have at their disposal some resources yet to be identified. I daresay a Ferrari dealer has access to funds, or other people with funds, but its not as if Romania is renowned for the streets being paved with gold – outside the late Mr Ceauศ™escu’s palace anyway…! Good luck, I guess, this sounds like a slightly shonky team in the best tradition, and I admire the spirit of anyone who is bonkers enough to start a new F1 team.

    1. I don’t pretend to know anything let alone have insight into Kolles’ mind, but I’ve noticed time to time talent that seems to take a very strange path is protecting something they’re working on.

      What I mean is that there’s a certain type who can appear to be much the journeyman who can transform when the conditions are right. It is very hard in any business to accumulate the breadth of experience a real engineer knows they want to accumulate before they set out on their own, and there are innumerable considerations that can preclude normal career plans if you are working on your own, not least of which is risk of IP contamination.

      There are some companies who have failed at things I had to double take at, for reasons of misapprehension of problems, who have thrown F1 budgets at the problem area. I can’t even mention them for risk of al sorts of nuisances. Meting a old friend in a very similar game to mine (at times) this year, he nudged me “you may find people are doing what you’re talking about in a couple of years”, which was encouraging.

      But the conversation had to stop there. That sort of opener, even from a friend I would gladly confide all to, often have done, could prove for a messy recollections if he invests in something even comparable. Even great friends bluff, it’s business, after all, and I grew up with my pal.

      Along those lines, it does not, of course, necessarily follow that knowledge gained under different rules is useless under new rules. I’d say Kolles is a long range thinker, and that might come into play now, rather than long range into the yet future. Regardless if I am wide the mark by a interstellar distance or not, F1 needs the mix of thinking, and there’s opportunity again, and even now change is still much needed. Bring it on.

      1. I’ll just add, in a reflective moment, that “long range thinker” or thinking can veer towards dreaming, oh, too easily… I had one long range target I hit in business, and it was more a” how will we think and feel; after ten years?” question, and putative answer, than a target. (okay there was one concrete bit, but otherwise a soft centered chocolate) Felt very good when I realized and called my partner, “hey, remember that paper from back when? We’re not far wrong, you know!” but, terms of succulent sustaining long range targets, wrapped in paper with nice sounding promise to pay inscriptions, not so great ๐Ÿ˜ฃ

  9. A big mistake by Adam Cooper on his blog, the money are 100% private. It has nothing to do with the Romanian state as it was believed before by the Romanian press. Last years…

  10. Hi Joe,
    I read elsewhere Helmut Marko is taking very negatively about Renault. In a time where I thought PR-speak was the norm, it sounds strange for him to publicly slander Renault this much. Surely Renault will not forget this? A conspiracy theorist could list this as a token RB is pulling out in the near future. Thank god I’m not such a person. ๐Ÿ™‚
    But I do wonder why Mateschitz lets his bloodhound rage this openly.

    1. I get the feeling Didi uses Helmut to voice unpopular meanings, or lets him do this conciously, so he won’t have to say it. And Didi can always deny that Helmut is voicing Red Bull’s stand on things.
      Don’t know for sure, of course, but it has happened before (in F1 and politics, etc.). Bernie seems to be the only one who does both roles (good cop, bad cop) himself. And I love him for that.

  11. I think Colin Kolles did a great job at HRT. On a tiny budget he ensured they got to every race (even though the car was in pieces before their debut race) and finished ahead of Virgin in 2010 and 2011. When he left, the project unravelled.

    Good luck to him. If anyone can, he can.

    1. Yes. Totally. The following grid is a bust. It’s so bad it’s not even terrifying, any more. You have time to acclimatize and say your prayers before financial bedtime. You know I had to double take, that HRT were gone. They went whilst I was the most distracted I’ve been for, well, for ever, but my double take is more worried what chance any backpacker team has of gaining a fanbase. Even if they manage to retain super talent. Sports need underdogs that can at least bite heels. Or look like they can. With stroke after stroke F1 gilding the winner’s parc ferme and brushing out the rest of the scene. It’s super that MB have such a car this year, I love it. But there has to be a stop to the tunnel vision. For Mercedes Benz, images of double podiums and even Lewis chucking his car the wrong way all pay back through exposure. So they even care if there’s a team below P10?

  12. Surely this must have something to do with Ion Tiriac, former tennis player (and event organiser), now Romania’s richest man, only dollar billionaire and biggest car dealer. His (impressive) private collection car museum is just over the road from the Forza Rossa Ferrari dealership in Otopeni, Bucharest though i’m not sure he has anything to do with it business-wise. Suppose Tiriac would be out in the open about it if he was involved

  13. Haas won’t be able to make the 2015 grid? Not really surprising. As a matter of fact, it wouldn’t suprise me at all if this Forza Rossa doesn’t make the grid, at this stage of the game either. That is unless your reference to Torro Rosso doesn’t make the grid last year actually translates to this Forza Rossa buying out Torro Rosso?

  14. Looks like a lot of money is going to be spent, or at least change hands. (Me a cynic?) Whether or not it ends up in the shape of a pair of F1 cars will be down to a huge number of factors, any of which can kill off all the hard work of hundreds of people and chuck it down the toilet.

    So a GP in Romania then?

  15. I may be very mistaken about this, but the Gene Haas F1 strategy seems to defy conventional wisdom as to how to run an F1 team. Any odds on whether he’ll be there? I know his history but as an American F1 fan, I’ve been down this road before. Talk is cheap.

    1. If the design and manufacture team is to be based in the US, you’ll really struggle to get together enough people with F1 experience to hit the ground running in such a short timescale. That seemed to be one problem with USF1 (the other being money). Given a longer timescale, and ideally an interim target of building something similar but a bit easier, all the elements are available to grow a US-based F1 capability (e.g. strong racing culture, good universities, strong aerospace, automotive and electronics industries…). But it would be a bit of an outlier – there’s not much single seater design and manufacture going on in the States – so you’d always have to be working very hard to maintain the skills and experience in the team.

      While I doubt the Forza Rossa model will be a great success (being essentially that which HRT followed), they can at least quickly buy in expertise from various companies and individuals who have done exactly this exercise before with an experienced individual in Kolles to ensure it all comes together in a compressed timescale. It’s just not likely to be optimised for front running performance!

      1. The USA is probably one of the easier places to try to do it though – you can get engineers with motorsport and aerospace experience and the country speaks the same language as the UK – not so critical in a working context (I suspect the working language at Sauber & Toro Rosso is English) but useful for relocating wives & kids.

        1. Caterham moved from Norwich to be in Motorsport Valley. Marussia moved from Sheffield. The US is a million miles from F1 Land.

        2. I think it all boils down to common sense. It is perfectly possible to run an F1 team from the US but it would just be much (much) harder and you would ask the question why would you willingly make life difficult for yourself?

          Looking at this the other way around, if Frank Williams announced he was starting a Nascar team but it was going to be run out of Wantage everyone would say he was mad – no shortage of skills, experience, etc. just the wrong place to do it!

          I see now Haas has been recently quoted as “thinking about having his team based in the UK” …

          1. Why do it? National pride, I guess. As you say, it’s certainly not the easiest way to go about it.

            I’d agree with your NASCAR example, but am honour-bound to note that Penske very succesfully designed and built their Indycars in the UK. In Poole, of all places. Of course in that case they were in roughly the same area as a myriad of other companies doing roughly the same thing.

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