ART Grand Prix has become the latest team to throw its name into the hat for the extra available space in the F1 2011 paddock – bringing the interested parties to as many as five.
The French outfit presently fields entries in GP2, the F3 Euroseries and the all-new GP3 category, and has achieved tremendous success since its foundation five years ago, with no fewer than eight drivers' and constructors' crowns in GP2 and the GP2 Asia Series and unbroken F3 Euroseries title glory since 2008.
Amongst the illustrious names to have competed for ART include 2008 F1 Word Champion Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes Grand Prix star Nico Rosberg, highly-rated Williams F1 2010 rookie Nico Hülkenberg and ex-Renault ace Romain Grosjean.
Team co-founder Frédéric Vasseur – who launched ART in company with Nicolas Todt, an F1 driver-manager and the son of FIA President and former Ferrari team principal Jean Todt – has now acknowledged that the Burgundy-based operation has officially applied to the governing body to join the grand prix grid as the 13th entrant in 2011.
“Yes, we have submitted an application to the FIA to join the F1 World Championship in 2011,” he told French publication Auto Hebdo
. “The application had to be made before 15 April, and the FIA should get back to us by no later than 1 July. Before that, we will have to complete a technical and financial information file.
“We did not want to confirm our willingness to engage in Formula 1 until now, to best prepare for this very complex issue and not compromise our current activities.”
Vasseur went on to explain that 'the choice of engine is not yet defined', but added that he has 'good relationships with Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault'. ART will be up against the likes of 2010 rejects Epsilon Euskadi and Stefan GP, fellow GP2 graduate Durango and possibly an American effort from the Cypher Group [see separate story – click here
] to claim what is at present the only free slot in next season's field.