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Stefanovic explains frustration over 2010 entry snub

Still seething about being overlooked as a potential candidate for a place on next year's expanded Formula One grid, Zoran Stefanovic has voiced his frustration at having to take the case to the European Commission.

The Serb, who lodged an entry alongside the likes of Prodrive and Lola under the name Stefan Grand Prix, joined the more illustrious names in the 'reject' pile after the FIA opted to grant Campos Meta, Manor Grand Prix and Team US F1 places at motorsport's top table, but insists that the way in which the selection was made was far from 'transparent'.

Despite the governing body vowing to make its dealings clearer to the wider world, Stefanovic maintains that there were conditions attached to the 2010 expansion bid that made it impossible for his outfit, and those of several rivals, to be considered, not least the requirement to use Cosworth engines. While Campos, Manor and US F1 agreed to the terms, Stefan Grand Prix refused to be forced in that direction - or accept the need to do so.

"It's very simple," Stefanovic said in an interview with 422race.com, "When we spoke with Cosworth, we had written information that we had to take their engine, otherwise there was no chance to be selected for 2010, [but] Cosworth put in writing what they got from FIA."

The Serb also revealed that both Prodrive and another potential entrant, Epsilon Euskadi, had been invited to join his approach to the EU.

"It's not only me - you have very certain information from David Richards also," he explained, referring to Prodrive's revelation that it too had baulked at the need to run Cosworth power as it conflicted with an technical agreement the company had with McLaren.

"We were waiting for him for ten days but, in the end, he decide not to go to the European Commission. We are still waiting for him to co-sign with us. It was told to him that he had to have Cosworth, and to Epsilon Euskadi too. Joan Villadelprat got exactly the same information officially from Tony Purnell. No question about that.

"People have to realise that every procedure in an open environment, in business or in sport, has to be transparent. That's all. What I know positively is the first one speaking about going to the European Commission wasn't me, but David Richards. And the same was also happening inside Epsilon Euskadi. But they were afraid, so they didn't. That's my opinion, otherwise there is no reason. When I saw that this opportunity existed, we thought again about how to do this and finally went in contact and put this complaint."

Stefanovic is determined to see the complaint through, not jut to see what he believes is justice served on the FIA's apparently heavy-handed approach to selection for 2010, but also to protect the investment he has placed in Stefan GP - not least the controversial hiring of disgraced former McLaren engineer Mike Coughlan.

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August 19, 2009 1:00 PM

Andrew The only laughable bit is the FIA forcing teams to run 'cossie' engines. Its BLACKMAIL. Campos? Manor? yea those two greats!!!lol USF1? are you serious max? When these guys are 3.5 seconds off the pace it will no doubt be FOTA's fault! Max wryly grinning at his landmine exploding


August 19, 2009 4:30 PM

Anyway you cut PhilW it's a restriction of trade. If someone has the money to lease a Ferrari or McLaren engine than let them - forcing them to take something else shouldn't and isn't in the FIA's right. Red Bull, Torro Rosso, Brawn, Williams, etc get to use whatever engine they like don't they? So why can't a new team? If this guy has written evidence of this like he claims than I believe he may have a very strong case indeed.

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