The last two days have been a hive of media releases and activity from the Serbian Team, as well as rumours as to what exactly was in the container sent to Bahrain.
On Friday night, Stefan GP posted a news article (which has now disappeared) on it’s official website, stating that it’s containers have arrived in Bahrain.
“StefanGP would like to inform the public that the containers we sent on the beginning of February arrived in Bahrain. In the corner of the page you will see official check from DHL and the confirmation that freight arrived. During next week we will show our Stefan Formula 1 car to the press as the final evidence that should put us on the grid in Bahrain.”
Sounds all well and good, until rumours started circulating as to where exactly those containers are. The DHL reciept states that they are in the country, but not at the circuit. Will Buxton, of the Buxton Blog, is currently in Bahrain reporting on the GP2 Asia series and he writes, “Officials at the track confirmed to me that StefanGP’s containers, which the team stated on February 2nd it had sent to Bahrain, have not arrived at the circuit. Of course the containers may still be at customs awaiting their signing out, but the firmly held belief that the team’s containers of spare parts for their ex-Toyota racers were already at the Bahrain International Circuit are false. They are not here.”
Well, according to the receipt slip, it clearly states that they have arrived in the country and not at the circuit. As Mr. Buxton rightly says, they are probably still in the port at the customs desk.
Buxton continues, “But perhaps the firmest nail in the coffin of the team’s hopes that they would be permitted to race should one of the new teams fail to make it, was an admission from another official at the BIC that they have received word from the FIA informing them to take StefanGP’s team profile, which had been prepared by the BIC on the off chance of the team’s participation, out of the media kits for the season-opening Grand Prix. According to this official, the FIA’s reasoning for this was that StefanGP ‘will not be racing in Bahrain.’”
If this is true, then no matter the contents of the container, then it would appear that the FIA have certainly ruled out that any Stefan Grand Prix car will drive the Bahrain circuit.
There has also been speculation as to what exactly is in the container. What it certainly does not have is a car, as is the same with the other teams. What it is likely to have is spare parts and other none-car related items such as computers, walkie-talkies & headphones etc.
The most biting part of Fridays press release is a firm attack on the decision makers at the FIA. The press release states, “If case we don’t receive the chance to compete in Bahrain, and also when some of the teams fail to show up, somebody should be in a trouble explaining what is happen to all of us.And dreamers from USA will have to explain their actions, because they are deliberately weakening F1 with dreaming of perfect world and fairytales about success. And success doesn’t come by talking but with hard work and lot of guts.”
If you’ll pardon the odd grammatical mistake from the Serbian team, Stefan GP clearly want an explanation as to why USF1 got the gird slot ahead of themselves. This writer believes it was purely political with a bit of arm twisting from Bernie Ecclestone. Without a US Grand Prix and the appeal of Formula One in America having lost any vague sense of appeal since the return of F1 to the Americas in 2000, an All-American team was what the sport needed. Little did he and the FIA know what kind of a mess the people they entrusted this adventure with would make.
This rant against the “USA Dreamers” was explained the next day when reports surfaced of the collapse of negotiations between Stefan GP and Chad Hurley, the main investor into USF1. Reports put the entire blame in the hands of Ken Anderson and Peter Windsor. (I’ll be analysing this later.)
As we all do after an outburst and after our anger has died down, Stefan GP offered what has clearly been read as an apology. Not exactly the words “Sorry”, but more an apology of a small child, standing before it’s elder, head down to the ground and saying “It won’t happen again.”
Here’s the full statement. “SGP would like to re-confirm its desire and, importantly, its ability to compete in the whole of the FIA 2010 Formula One World Championship. It recognises that this can only happen with the consent of the FIA and the FOM, but has faith that the Formula One ‘family’ will make the correct decision in the end. There will be no more press releases on this subject and we look forward to being allowed to show everyone our team in Bahrain.”
This can clearly be interpreted that the FIA have been on the phone to the team and have sternly warned them not to stir the pot any more while it is making it’s decision as what to do with the USF1 slot. However, things might be going their way if the team have had to publicly say that it will no longer be addressing the subject. Almost as if the FIA have said, “Look, we’re agreeing with you but still going through the paperwork. You’re just about going to be there but you’re beginning to annoy us with your press releases. Any more from you and we can stop it altogether and you can wave goodbye to F1 in 2010. Keep you’re mouth shut and you’ll be there.”
With so many stories, rumours and articles (this one included!) flying around the internet at the moment, it’s hard really to say what is truth, speculation, publicity or just sheer nonsense.
Come on FIA, put us all out of our misery…