A new aspiring Formula 1 team, supported by Asia but based in the United Kingdom, declared its intention to become a new F1 competitor at the end of last summer.
The Asian team’s hopes were to join the World Championship in 2021, when the new rules were initially to be introduced; but they were dashed by Ross Brawn’s announcement last August that potential new competitors would have to wait until 2022 at the earliest.
The head of Panthera Team Asia, Benjamin Durand, said in an interview with Motorsport that this delay, and the subsequent global health crisis, did not put an end to the organisation’s efforts to enter F1.
“It has been quite a rollercoaster, but we are still alive — the project is not done,” he said.
“We were already aiming for 2022 before the current crisis hit and we are still looking for a way in.
“We have had a group of people working on the car, doing some preliminary work on the aero side, and continue to work with investors.”
Durand, who previously managed the French sports car team based in Russia, SMP Racing, stressed that the uncertainty about the future of F1 has made Panthera’s plans subject to change.
“We are waiting to see what happens with F1 before we say more,
“People are talking about the possibility of being able to buy a car [from another team], so we will have to wait and see what happens.”
Indeed we could find Ross Brawn’s initial decision to deny the team entry onto the grid in 2021 is also subject to change. The 145 million dollar budget cap coming along with a very high likelihood we’ll see an exodus of teams in the near future, might mean that Formula 1 will want to encourage smaller, independent teams such as Panthera. Furthermore, that tactic might be needed sooner rather than later.
According to respected F1 journalist Adam Cooper, Liberty Media published its financial figures for the first quarter of 2020. The corona crisis and the race break have led to a drop in revenues of more than 200 million dollars for the Formula One Group [Liberty].
To clarify, that’s a shocking drop from 246 million dollars in 2019, to just 39 in the same period this year. Further, Q2 is set to be far worse.
With figures such as this being published by the sports promotors and owners, it doesn’t take a genius to realise the big manufacturers are receiving zero return for their expenditure on F1. It is this situation that will dictate what Formula 1 will look like in the coming years. It is totally unsustainable.
None of this is out of the question and has been reported on by TJ13 in the past.
It’s going to be a very different Formula 1 world, to go along with the post-Corona real world.