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Martin Birrane talks of Lola's F1 bid

NEWS STORY
19/11/2009

Lola Executive Chairman Martin Birrane talks about this years Lola F1 project and what the future holds for the Lola MB01 design.

What were the main attractions earlier this year for you to take Lola back in-to Formula One?
The initial attraction was the cost capping proposals that the FIA said they would make for 2010. We were advised of this policy very early on, probably in January or February 2009, and we immediately started making plans for an entry.

The new teams in 2010 would be able to compete with established teams because of the performance breaks that were originally on offer. The facts were that the F1 landscape had to change. Therefore the new teams to Formula One in 2010 would have been able to compete against established teams. Lola has always been regarded as a 'true racers' organisation and we would have ensured that this reputation was upheld.

The timing was as right for Lola to return to Formula One. The investment in new infrastructure and technology has prepared us to build a competitive Formula One car and we are still well prepared to achieve this.

What work did Lola carry out ahead of the FIA's decision in June?
It would be fair to say that we did a significant amount of F1 project assessment ahead of the announcement. The reasons we did this were that we wanted to compete at a high level and not just make up the numbers. The lead times in getting a completely new Formula One project off the ground is 9-12 months if you want to be competitive with the established teams.

In June we had already undertaken an initial windtunnel programme and completed two weeks of evaluation on the 50% scale model. We had started to upgrade our assembly facilities (these were completed in September) and the framework of the Lola Formula One Team was in place. We would most certainly have had a car testing in December 2009.

At present our LMP programme is benefiting from these upgrades in all departments and the 2010 spec LMP1 and LMP2s are going to be very special as a result of this.

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