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Following yesterday's surprise announcement that Team Dubai F1 is to enter a team in the 2006 Formula One World Championship, there has been a rush for more information about the team and those behind it.
According to the official press release; Grand Prix Investments will enter Team Dubai F1 in the 2006 championship. Furthermore, Team Dubai F1 will not purchase an existing team 'off the peg' but will instead create a brand new team from scratch.
"We talked to a number of teams and their owners about the possibility of buying an existing operation," explained Tim Fulton of Team Dubai/Grand Prix Investments. "Whilst a number of those teams could certainly have helped us up a steep learning curve, we ultimately concluded that the acquisition of an existing team would never enable us fully to demonstrate our own commitment and excellence since success would inevitably have been linked with the existing team's brand and values.
"The creation of a completely new team enables us to build on the values of hard work, quick implementation and strong will which have underpinned the development of the Emirate of Dubai."
According to the official release; "work will commence next year on a state of the art technical centre and wind tunnel in Dubai, and much of the long-term development work on the team's car will be conducted by the team there. However, the team's manufacturing facilities will be based in England".
The other big surprise is that, according to the team release, McLaren and Mercedes will be involved in the project: "Team Dubai F1 has also entered into exclusive negotiations with both Mercedes-Benz and McLaren for the supply of engines and technical assistance for their programme".
Furthermore, as proof of its serious intent, the team is going to file the relevant documentation and will lodge the US$48m security necessary to enable it to participate.
For further background, Pitpass contacted Grand Prix Investments (GPI). We began by asking why Team Dubai F1 had chosen to take the (highly expensive) decision to start from scratch, rather than purchasing Minardi, Jordan or even Jaguar.
"Have you got the press release?" said a GPI spokesman. "There's nothing really to add to what's in the release, that gives the genuine reason why.
"This is no slight on the teams we spoke to, and we were, as you'll know from the rumours, talking to a number of teams," he continues. "But it was felt that Team Dubai F1 needed to establish its own identity from the beginning. We want to create our own identity and our own brand values, this is no slight whatsoever on the teams we talked too, far from it, we have nothing but compliments for them. Nonetheless, that's the decision that was made."
We than asked for clarification as to where the team will be based: "We will be building a research facility and wind tunnel in Dubai, but the manufacturing process will take place in the UK," said the spokesman.
Asked if McLaren will be building the chassis, as some sources have been suggesting, he replies: "McLaren will be providing technical consultancy."
We admit to having read somewhere that McLaren might be building the chassis, but it's simply "technical support"? we ask, once again seeking clarification. "Technical support and Mercedes engines," is the response.
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