Q & A with Lola's Martin Birrane

Along with Prodrive, Lola was one of the more surprising omissions from the 2010 Formula 1 entry list published this morning

Q & A with Lola's Martin Birrane

Martin Birrane, chairman of Lola Cars International, is at Le Mans and spoke exclusively to AUTOSPORT.

Q. Given that circumstances may change over the coming week, you must feel reasonably confident that Lola's entry may yet be accepted.

Martin Birrane: Yes, it's a provisional list. We're not on there, but we're being encouraged to hold on until next Friday. There are five teams with an asterisk as well as our own, and we'll know then whether one, two or none of them will be through. This is what we're being told. Then again, we were being told that today was the last day...

Q. How certain are you, given the prevailing economic conditions, that you can put together the finance to be on the grid next year?

MB: Well, I knew what I was doing three months ago, so there's no question about whether we can or we can't. I'm doing this personally, it's not Lola itself. I didn't want to risk the company because of what happened once before [Birrane acquired Lola after its failed F1 entry in 1997]. Lola F1 Team Limited is a totally separate company, I'm the only shareholder and I'm the only one funding it.

I wouldn't be doing all that if I wasn't satisfied that we could take it forward. In fact, if you went to the factory now you would find that not only has the model been completed for a week, but it's been in the tunnel all this week. We're progressing. We're way ahead with our car.

No question we could have a car ready for December. I don't know where all these other guys... one of three that has been chosen is worthy in my view, and they will have a proper car. The other two - who knows?

Q. Even though your F1 team is a separate company, presumably it is making use of Lola's facilities?

MB: Oh yes, we have all the facilities. We've got everything. We've got buying departments, finance departments, all the structure there. Twelve years ago I decided to put in the facilities capable of doing Formula 1. We've had five different teams come in and use different parts of the facility. I was hoping we may snag someone who wanted to do the full job, and we could have done it for them. Now, the opportunity, because of the cap, makes it a business proposition.

Q. Have you hired new staff or redeployed existing staff?

MB: Oh, absolutely. We have a lot of staff. We've hired a couple of dozen top people in the past six weeks.

Q. Were they recruited from existing F1 teams?

MB: Yes.

Q. And how is the performance package progressing?

MB: All our engineers are current F1 engineers who have done a fantastic job. We really have the makings of a good car. I don't know how much time the FIA have put to the fact that when those cars arrive on the grid, they shouldn't be mobile chicanes. They should be cars capable of getting on to the back of the grid at least.

shares
comments
Analysis: New F1 teams in detail
Previous article

Analysis: New F1 teams in detail

Next article

FOTA seeking 'sensible governance'

FOTA seeking 'sensible governance'
Assessing Hamilton's remarkable decade as a Mercedes F1 driver Plus

Assessing Hamilton's remarkable decade as a Mercedes F1 driver

Many doubted Lewis Hamilton’s move from McLaren to Mercedes for the 2013 Formula 1 season. But the journey he’s been on since has taken the Briton to new heights - and to a further six world championship titles.

Why new look Haas is a litmus test for Formula 1’s new era Plus

Why new look Haas is a litmus test for Formula 1’s new era

OPINION: With teams outside the top three having struggled in Formula 1 in recent seasons, the rules changes introduced in 2022 should have more of an impact this season. How well Haas does, as the poster child for the kind of team that F1 wanted to be able to challenge at the front, is crucial

The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff Plus

The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff

OPINION: Although the central building blocks for Mercedes’ recent, long-lasting Formula 1 success were installed before he joined the team, Toto Wolff has been instrumental in ensuring it maximised its finally-realised potential after years of underachievement. The 10-year anniversary of Wolff joining Mercedes marks the perfect time to assess his work

Formula 1
Feb 1, 2023
The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate Plus

The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate

Alpine’s signing of Pierre Gasly alongside Esteban Ocon revives memories of a famous all-French line-up, albeit in the red of Ferrari, for BEN EDWARDS. Can the former AlphaTauri man's arrival help the French team on its path back to winning ways in a tribute act to the Prancing Horse's title-winning 1983?

Formula 1
Jan 31, 2023
How do the best races of F1 2022 stack up to 2021? Plus

How do the best races of F1 2022 stack up to 2021?

OPINION: A system to score all the grands prix from the past two seasons produces some interesting results and sets a standard that 2023 should surely exceed

Formula 1
Jan 31, 2023
Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022? Plus

Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022?

Who was the fastest driver in 2022? Everyone has an opinion, but what does the stopwatch say? Obviously, differing car performance has an effect on ultimate laptime – but it’s the relative speed of each car/driver package that’s fascinating and enlightening says ALEX KALINAUCKAS

Formula 1
Jan 30, 2023
Why F1's nearly man is refreshed and ready for his return Plus

Why F1's nearly man is refreshed and ready for his return

He has more starts without a podium than anyone else in Formula 1 world championship history, but Nico Hulkenberg is back for one more shot with Haas. After spending three years on the sidelines, the revitalised German is aiming to prove to his new team what the F1 grid has been missing

Formula 1
Jan 29, 2023
The potential-laden F1 car that Ferrari neglected Plus

The potential-laden F1 car that Ferrari neglected

The late Mauro Forghieri played a key role in Ferrari’s mid-1960s turnaround, says STUART CODLING, and his pretty, intricate 1512 was among the most evocative cars of the 1.5-litre era. But a victim of priorities as Formula 1 was deemed less lucrative than success in sportscars, its true potential was never seen in period

Formula 1
Jan 28, 2023