The FIA announced the provisional entry list for the 2010 Formula 1 World Championship today. The 13 spots on the 2010 grid will filled with the 10 current F1 operations and 3 new start-up teams. Of course, with all the controversy leading up to this announcement, it would only be proper that the list itself was controversial.
Provisional Entry List
Red Bull Racing
Scuderia Toro Rosso
Williams Grand Prix
Force India F1
Campos Grand Prix
Manor Grand Prix
Team US F1
BMW Sauber F1*
Brawn Grand Prix*
(* indicates the team has been granted a provisional entry but not an unconditional entry)
Max Mosely didn’t get to and stay where he is by giving into everyone’s demands. The eight FOTA teams have been split up in the entry list, likely as a Mosely tactic to cause a rift among the teams. Ferrari, Red Bull, and Toro Rosso have all been given unconditional entries into the 2010 championship. This is despite the fact that they filed the same conditional entries that the five other FOTA members did. McLaren, BMW, Renault, Brawn, and Toyota have essentially been put on notice that the FIA can drop them from the championship by next week if they do not submit an unconditional entry.
Meanwhile, there were a couple of surprises among the three new teams granted entries into the 2010 championship. US F1 was expected to get an entry despite its lofty goal of operating from the United States.
Campos GP formerly ran a GP2 team but now only run a Spanish F3 team. Their advantage was believed to be strong government backing for their entry. The real surprise was the entry of Manor GP. This is a collaboration between Manor Motorsport which is an F3 operation and Nick Worth, a former Benetton F1 technical chief and operator of Simtek which was owned by Max Mosely. Beside the connection, Manor had some backing in the past from Mercedes but will be running the Cosworth package in 2010 which would leave little in the way of F1 infrastructure currently at their disposal.
It will be interesting to see the fallout from this on both the FOTA side and among the new teams. FOTA’s latest press release seems to be playing this off as a mistake by the FIA as Ferrari, Red Bull, and Toro Rosso shouldn’t be listed as unconditional. However, the FIA insists that deals between Bernie Ecclestone and the teams mandate their participation. Prodrive and Lola both issued press releases which stated polite disagreement with the FIA’s decision. At the very least, Prodrive should have a complaint because they are among the best racing outfits in the world that aren’t currently in F1.
I would imagine that tempers will flare over the next seven days as FOTA and the FIA do battle once again. This time, the only ones coming out on top might be some of those outfits. Some pundits are floating the theory that if the FIA replaces the provisionally entered teams with new operations, current F1 teams will just buy them out for their spots.