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F1 NEWS 

Stefan GP planning to test F1 car

The Serbian-based Stefan Grand Prix team plans to test its Formula 1 car throughout 2010 if it is not successful in securing an entry for next year's championship.

AUTOSPORT understands that team chief Zoran Stefanovic is due to meet with Toyota Motorsport president John Howett this weekend in a bid to finalise a deal for his outfit to take over the design of the Japanese manufacturer's original 2010 car.

The move comes as Stefan GP continues its preparations to move into F1, even though there is currently no vacancy on the grid for it.

Although the team does not want to confirm any details about its plans just yet, Stefanovic has told AUTOSPORT that even if its initial ambitions for 2010 do not come off, there is a back-up plan in place.

"Plan A is going into F1 in 2010, but Plan B is going into F1 in 2011 but next year going testing with the car and several drivers," he said. "We have the drivers already, but we are not going to announce this. If we are not in F1 next year competing then we will go testing through the year, and testing a lot.

"We are not bound by the Concorde Agreement, so we will test at various tracks and with various drivers - even if we are not in the F1 world championship."

Stefanovic says that the team's budget is already in place, and that work on the car - which will be led by former McLaren chief designer Mike Coughlan - will be conducted at both a Serbian and German base in 2010.

"We have the full necessary backing in money terms for whatever we are doing," he explained. "At the moment there is no question about this. The only question mark is about the entry, and we will not go into details until there is an official announcement."

Stefanovic has also confirmed that the team has dropped a complaint it lodged with the European Commission regarding the entry process for the 2010 championship.

"We stopped the court case," he said. "It is now a different approach. It was [originally] to complain about it being a fair or unfair process, but when we thought carefully at the end of August, we decided not to move on with this.

"So, from the beginning of September we are not doing anything on this side with the European Commission. There is no question about this...It is better to go forward with the business plan than the complaint process."

Read more on Stefan GP in The Weekly Grapevine

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