THE 2010 FORMULA ONE season could become a throwback to the sport’s glory years after two former members of the paddock emerged as candidates for the final three grid slots available.
Reports from Europe indicate Brabham and March are in contention for a return to the sport after their respective owners lodged submissions by the May 29 entry deadline.
German company Formtech, owning the rights to the Brabham Grand Prix brand, is rumoured to have entered under the banner of the former World Champions, while British businessman Andrew Fitton has made a bid through the March Racing Organisation.
Fitton purchased March in 1992 after then owner Akira Akagi was implicated in a banking scandal in Japan, selling the company’s assets and shutting down its racing operations, although he remained in possession of the team’s name.
With no equipment and infrastructure, Fitton and March would effectively be required to rebuild the team from nothing, severely hampering its attempt to enter at such a late stage. In contrast, Formtech’s Brabham entry is far more advanced.
While the news of Brabham’s potential return seems sudden, it appears Formtech’s owner Franz Hilmer has long been preparing for a tilt at Formula One after purchasing the fixed assets of Super Aguri F1 in June last year, strengthening its case for entry in 2010.
Hilmer bought Super Aguri’s F1 facilities at the Leafield Technical Centre as well as race cars and team transporters, while he employed a number of former team staff to assist Formtech in composite design and manufacturing.
Founded by Australian sporting legend Sir Jack Brabham, the Brabham outfit vanished from the world of Formula One in 1992 after it was beset by financial difficulties with future World Champion Damon Hill recording the team’s final race finish, 11th at the Hungarian Grand Prix.