In 2019, Panthera announced their hopes of becoming F1’s Asian team, with hopes to join the grid in 2022.

With the coronavirus pandemic halting their plan, Panthera’s focus has turned to 2026.

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Like Andretti, they have been given a glimmer of hope by FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem, who announced that an “expressions of interest” process has been opened for prospective teams.

Andretti and Cadillac, backed by General Motors, formally announced their bid to enter F1.

As revealed in an interview with Planet F1, Panthera re-affirmed their dream of racing in F1.

“It’s been a rollercoaster,” Team principal and co-founder Benjamin Durand said. “We still think that the Asian market and Chinese market are the next markets to be developed.

“They are all looking west, nobody’s looking east. Now F1 is focusing a lot on the US which is normal because it’s growing but once that market is there, Asia and Africa are the next big market for F1, especially now that Zhou [Guanyu] is in the championship.”

Durand believes his team has been caught out by bad luck and poor timing, with reference to the global pandemic.

“The particular issue you have when you want to try to create a Formula 1 team is to have all the planets align,” Durand added.

“So when we had the money, the FIA and F1 were not ready because at the time they were renegotiating the Concorde Agreement. So they were not ready to have new teams arriving until they signed the existing teams.

“Then we also talked with Renault to be partners on the technical side. They went through a lot of management changes during the last five years and it impacted our project directly.

“Things were back again for the possibility for us to enter then the pandemic arrived and we lost funding. So we had to work again on the financial side. It’s an ongoing rollercoaster.”

Panthera “open” to link with Calvin Lo

Hong Kong billionaire Calvin Lo has previously expressed interest in entering F1.

Worth an estimated $1.7bn, Lo could be the perfect businessman to link up with Panthera’s bid.

“We haven’t talked to Calvin Lo right now,” he explained. “It was interesting to see his comments in the press because he’s saying basically also what we’re saying that the Asian market isn’t the focus right now, the US is.

“So everybody’s looking over there. They’re all looking west. Nobody’s looking east which is a mistake but also good for us because this is what we can bring. So there are a lot of things that are in line with Calvin Lo.

“I don’t have details about his project but we are open to everything. We are still in the stage if whoever comes can bring us something that can reinforce our project and reinforce the bid for F1 [then that is good].”