First there was US GPE, then Lola, then Aston Martin – and now leading GP2 Series squad iSport International is eyeing a graduation into F1 in the sport's new budget-capped low-cost era in 2010...and the announcement could throw a lifeline to grand prix aspirant Bruno Senna.
Max Mosley's proposed optional £30 million budget cap – due to be officially ratified in an FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting in Paris this week – has attracted a wealth of attention from teams interested in making the jump, and iSport would seem to be as well-placed and well-qualified as any.
The former GP2 Series title-winning outfit – which led current Toyota F1 star Timo Glock to the laurels back in 2006 – has been a front-runner in the top flight's feeder category from the word 'go' back in 2005, with no fewer than 13 victories to its name courtesy of the young German, Senna, Ernesto Viso, Karun Chandhok and Andreas Zuber.
What's more, team boss Paul Jackson has made little attempt to hide his desire to join the grand prix grid, and has revealed that he is ready to begin negotiations with potential sponsors and investors for an F1 project – one that could take the form of either an iSport entry in its own right, or else a tie-up with one of the existing ten teams such as Red Bull 'junior' outfit Scuderia Toro Rosso.
“I aim to give a few people in F1 a kick up the backside and to show them that they are chucking money out of the window for nothing,” he stressed in an interview with Motorsports-Magazine.com. “The existing teams aren't structured to operate within a £30 million budget, so it would probably be better to start with a blank sheet, [and] we're accustomed to doing a great job on limited resources.”
Another key cornerstone of an iSport entry, Jackson underlined, would be an upper salary limit of £100,000 for all employees, himself included – “It should be the desire for success that brings people into Formula 1; if it's big money you're after, then you should be looking somewhere else” – whilst the Englishman also made clear his eagerness to rejoin forces with Senna, with whom the team battled for GP2 glory last season and who just missed out on making his F1 debut this year when Brawn GP elected to favour experience over youth and retain the services of the Brazilian's compatriot Rubens Barrichello.
“That would be fantastic,” enthused Jackson of the possibility of working with Senna again, having previously insisted it would be 'a wicked shame' if the nephew of the late, great three-time world champion Ayrton Senna was never to be given the chance to prove his worth at the very pinnacle of the sport. “I'm convinced that he belongs in Formula 1.”