In an interview with Autosport, Stefan Grand Prix has announced that it has cancelled it’s 25th of February test after failing to strike a deal with tyre supplier Bridgestone.
Today, Mr. Stefanovic stated, “We cannot do the test at the moment and we are still trying to find a solution. We have no tyres and will not test on tyres that are not suitable for the car to go testing at full speed. We now need to see what our options are, but we definitely need to do something to sort this situation out.”
Earlier in the week, Mr Stefanovic confirmed that Bridgestone will only supply F1-spec tyres to outfits who are signed up by the FIA for the 2010 World Championship. There had been a possibility to run on GP2 tyres, but Bridgestone were not able to supply these at short notice. How much short notice is actually needed is an interesting question as Stefan GP announced it’s intention to test in Portugal over three weeks ago.
Regarding Stefan GP’s entry into the 2010 World Championship, Mr. Stefanovic said, “We are expecting that the situation will be clarified soon. Everybody knows that some teams are facing certain problems, and we are looking to clarify this situation.”
This is the first time that our dear Team has had to issue a statement to the affect of a step backwards. After positive news stories snowballing enthusiasm from F1 fans the world over, all the while band-wagoning the growing frustration over USf1’s failure to make even a vaguely professional step into getting a car to the 2010 championship, this is the first bad news story emanating from the Serbian team.
Meanwhile, Jacques Villeneuve has distanced himself from Mr. Stefanovic’s quote of, “We are very near to a contract with Jacques Villeneuve, and probably also with another driver as our reserve driver.”
When Bild asked Jacques how much he know about the rumours regarding Stefan GP, he said, “As much as I have read. It is really difficult to keep track of what is happening. If they get a place in Formula One, that would be a great opportunity. As they are apparently supported by Bernie Ecclestone, you must assume that they will make it and take them seriously. With the equipment from Toyota, they could be the best new team.”
A distinctly vague answer from Jacques there. Neither denying or confirming that he is in talks with Stefan GP. This writer presumes that a contract will only be signed once Stefan GP has been granted a place on the 2010 grid. You can understand Kazumi Nakajima signing up as he is young, and wants to prove that he is worth of a top seat in Formula One. But you can also understand Jacques reluctance to sign right away without knowing for certain if he will actually race in 2010 as he is probably has offers to drive at Le Mans.
It is now up to the FIA to decide whether to stick with USF1 in the hope that they will field something resembling an F1 car in Bahrain or if worse comes to worse, in Barcelona in May. But time is running out for them as the FIA now have a viable option waiting in the wings with Stefan GP, who themselves are not wanting to wait around for much longer as they want to get testing and developing the car.
It’s time for Mr. Todt to get his finger out and do some real finger-wagging.