F1 »

Birrane speaks out on Lola F1 project.

Lola boss Martin Birrane remains optimistic that there will be another chance for his company to return to the F1 grid, despite missing out in 2010.

Lola executive chairman Martin Birrane has ruled out selling on his company's latest Formula One design, believing that it may provide a platform from which to enter the top flight in future.

Despite being one of the bigger names on the shortlist of potential entrants to fill the three added places opened up by the FIA ahead of next season's F1 campaign, Lola - like Prodrive - was overlooked in favour of less-heralded operations such as Campos Meta, Manor and USF1. Despite the setback, however, Birrane is adamant that there will be other opportunities to return to the series.

“It would be fair to say that we did a significant amount of F1 project assessment ahead of the announcement," he revealed, "The reasons we did this were that we wanted to compete at a high level and not just make up the numbers. The lead times in getting a completely new F1 project off the ground is 9-12 months if you want to be competitive with the established teams.

“In June, we had already undertaken an initial windtunnel programme and completed two weeks of evaluation on the 50 per cent scale model. We had started to upgrade our assembly facilities - these were completed in September - and the framework of the Lola Formula One Team was in place. We would most certainly have had a car testing in December 2009.

“We were in regular touch with Max and Bernie, as well as Tony Purnell, who appeared to be in charge of the whole process. The relationship with both FOM and the FIA was good throughout so, of course, there was disappointment when it was announced that we were to be essentially reserves along with AMR/Prodrive.

“I do not think that technical capabilities were given sufficient consideration in the process. From commercial, accounting and sporting matters, everything seemed very thorough indeed. However, messages that we got from the FIA were that everything at Lola was in line with their standards and that of an organisation intent on being competitive in F1. It remains to be seen whether the three new teams that were selected then can achieve more than just 'also ran' status, but Lola continues to have a constructive relationship and regular dialogue with these organisations.”

Eventually, Lola withdrew from the waiting list, leaving it ineligible to be considered when BMW Sauber announced that it was calling time on its F1 programme. Birrane, however, maintains that it was the right thing to do.

“[Not being selected] was something of a mystery to us at first but, clearly, we were, to some extent, being used as pawns between the FIA and FOTA," he claimed, "The conflict was very disturbing to us and, certainly, one potential investor was completely put off by it. We decided to withdraw our application because we did not wish to be used in this political dispute. There was so much infighting and uncertainty at that stage and all we wanted to do was go racing.”

Birrane confirmed that the proposed budget capping scheme had been instrumental in attracting Lola back to F1, but insisted that the team would have continued with its entry even after the plan was scrapped.

Tagged as: Lola , 2010 , entry list , martin birrane

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
CAM image of Lola F1 car   [pic credit: Lola]
09.07.2017- podium, winner Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W08, 2nd Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H, 3rd Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB13 and martin Brundle (GBR)
Sensor at the pit lane entry.
Sebastien Buemi - Chinese Grand Prix wheel failure
Martin Brundle (GBR)
Martin Brundle (GBR)
Martin Brundle (GBR)
Red Bull, Aston Martin, AM-RB 001, [Credit: Red Bull Racing]
01.05.2016 - Martin Brundle (GBR) Sky Sports Commentator  and Pasquale Lattuneddu (ITA), FOM
28.04.2016 - Martin Brundle (GBR) Sky Sports Commentator and Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Manor Racing MRT05
01.04.2016 - Martin Brundle
20.03.2016 - (L-R) Garry Connelly and Martin Donelly, FIA Stewards
19.03.2016 - (L-R) Christian Horner (GBR), Red Bull Racing, Sporting Director and Andrew Palmer (GB), CEO Aston Martin
19.03.2016 - (L-R) Andrew Palmer (GB), CEO Aston Martin, David Coulthard (GBR) and Christian Horner (GBR), Red Bull Racing, Sporting Director
19.03.2016 - (L-R) Andrew Palmer (GB), CEO Aston Martin
19.03.2016 - (L-R) Jerome Stoll (FRA) Renault Sport F1 President and Andrew Palmer (GB), CEO Aston Martin
17.03.2016 -
Red Bull RB12 with Aston Martin branding

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.