Lola evaluating 2010 F1 return

British racing car manufacturer Lola is considering re-entering Formula 1 next year after confirming that it has committed to a full technical, operational and financial evaulation of the project

The Huntingdon-based company has a long history of building F1 cars and last appeared with a short-lived and unsuccessful works team at the start of the 1997 season.

However, in the wake of the FIA announcing last month its plans for teams to be able to compete in F1 under a £30 million budget cap, Lola executive chairman Martin Birrane now believes the time is right to consider a return.

"The announcement that teams may opt for a prudent, financially responsible 'cost-capped' regime from 2010 has resulted in us deciding to fully evaluate the opportunity to develop a car to compete in the FIA Formula One World Championship," he said.

"Providing world-class engineering excellence, offering high quality solutions governed by a tightly controlled financial regime has been part of Lola's DNA over the last decade.

"The current necessity for F1 to adopt a responsible approach in times of economic uncertainty has created the ideal conditions for us to consider developing a car for the world championship."

Birrane, who bought Lola in 1997 after its F1 team collapsed, has made no secret of his ambition to take the company back into top level of international racing.

It has been heavily involved in single-seater production in the past decade, building chassis for a wide range of categories including the defunct Champ Car World Series, Formula 3, A1GP, F3000 and Formula Nippon.

The company also has recent experience of developing customer LMP1 and LMP2 machinery for top-line sportscar racing, with the Prodrive-run Lola Aston Martin project claiming a debut victory in the Barcelona Le Mans Series race earlier this month.

The facilities that Lola has built up for such activities in recent years means that it already has a base that could easily be adapted to develop an F1 car.

"Lola possesses the technical resources, capability and know-how to develop cars capable of competing at the very highest levels of international motor sport, including F1," said Birrane. "We are therefore embracing the WMSC's timely announcements and assessing a relevant programme for F1 with a view to making a formal entry in the coming weeks."

Lola has already appointed engineering personnel to evaluate the possibility of an F1 return, and already has an F1-standard windtunnel, computational fluid dynamics capability and a seven-post dynamic chassis rig in its factory.

AUTOSPORT understands that Lola is one of eight new teams that have entered into discussions with Cosworth for a supply of V8 engines for 2010, and that it could face competition for the available grid slots from a number of other prospective teams, including the USF1 project.

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