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Forza Rossa gets green light from the FIA

NEWS STORY
30/10/2014

The FIA has given the green light to new Romanian team Forza Rossa joining the sport over the next two years according to an article in the Independent by Christian Sylt.

The news does not come directly from the FIA or F1's boss Bernie Ecclestone but the source is indisputable as it is a sworn witness statement given to London's High Court. The statement was released as part of the recent administration proceedings of Caterham and it also reveals at last the details of the team's much-rumoured connection to Forza Rossa.

The new team is being led by former Romanian health minister Ion Bazac and although its entry into F1 has been speculated for many months it hasn't been confirmed until now.

The witness statement comes from Constantin Cojocar, a former professional footballer for Romanian Club Steaua Bucharest, whose entry into F1 came in September when he bought Caterham Sports, the company which designs and builds cars for Caterham. Last week Caterham Sports and the team's operating company 1Malaysia Racing Team (1MRT) were put into the hands of administrators and Cojocar's witness statement lifts the lid on Forza Rossa's plans.

"Early in 2014, a Romanian team called FRR Formula 1 Team (Forza Rossa) formed the intention of entering Formula 1. The project is led by a Mr Ion Bazac, a former Romanian health minister. In June 2014, Forza Rossa received a letter of intent from the FIA (the governing body for Formula 1), allowing it to enter Formula 1 in the next two years. Forza Rossa hopes to race in the 2015 season, but time to prepare is running short."

It confirms reports earlier this year that the Romanian team has a "serious" plan in place. In June Joe Saward claimed that "to underline the serious nature of the Romanian bid, the country's Minister of Youth and Sport Nicolae Banicioiu led a delegation that attended a meeting in the FIA logistics facility in Valleiry, near Geneva, earlier this week at which the proposals were examined by FIA engineers led by the federation's Technical Director Bernard Niclot and Charlie Whiting." According to Cojocar, Caterham Sports was at the heart of this plan.

In his statement Cojocar says that he bought Caterham Sports with the intention of it designing and building cars for both Caterham and Forza Rossa. "I have been involved with a consortium of Romanian investors who saw an opportunity to purchase [Caterham Sports], clear its debts and sell racing services to the Forza Rossa team...The intention was to sell or lease to 1MRT those assets 1MRT requires, and to sell or lease the remaining assets to Forza Rossa."

Ironically, the collapse of Caterham Sports has presented Forza Rossa with a golden opportunity. This is because it now has a chance to buy the team's assets from the administrator who is looking to sell them to clear debts or broker a deal which keeps the wheels turning.

Cojocar says that his Romanian investors were due to provide £2m per week which was to be used to pay the creditors of Caterham Sports and save it from collapsing. "Unfortunately, the money promised to me by my backers has not arrived," he said adding "I understand that Forza Rossa is looking at other possible arrangements for 2015 and I have found it very difficult to contact my backers in Romania."

The lack of funding led to bills not being paid by Caterham Sports and earlier this month bailiffs seized equipment from its factory after it failed to abide by a court ruling to settle £750,000 of unpaid bills. The seized goods include a simulator, steering wheels and a 2013 test car which is expected to be sold to raise money for the company's creditors

"I suspect that my backers in Romania know about the attendance of enforcement officers, and that this will make it less likely I will receive the money that was promised," said Cojocar. He added that "the difficulties caused by not receiving the funds promised to me have led me to the conclusion that I have no choice but to request that the Company is put into administration."

As Pitpass predicted last week, Marussia recently joined Caterham in administration and if neither can be saved it would reduce the F1 grid to nine teams. However, the decline could soon be reversed as in April the FIA also gave the green light to the American Haas F1 Team which is on track to join F1 in 2016.

In February Saward wrote that "the Romanian project has a lot more elements in place than Haas did" so if they both line up on the grid in 2016 then the sport may be able to put the collapse of Caterham and Marussia behind it.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Martin B, 06/11/2014 22:14

"Unfortunately we can't edit comments here so apologies for putting so many, but @my tyres are going off, I think the little man is losing (or lost) the plot and I'm sure I'm not the only one."

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2. Posted by Martin B, 06/11/2014 22:10

"@my tyres are going off, I think you are mostly right, they want to push Formula E (which I thought was pretty good by the way - waiting for the next race) but I think they want to keep F1 but lose the other one you mentioned."

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3. Posted by Martin B, 06/11/2014 22:05

"And I don't imagine Ferrari being very happy with the name "Forza Rossa"."

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4. Posted by Martin B, 06/11/2014 22:04

"@Hondawho - don't you think Mr E has created a lot of this BS all on his lonesome? How many times in recent years have we heard of dubious investors entering F1 as a "serious bid" including USF1 which was supposedly supported by Peter Windsor?"

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5. Posted by Spindoctor, 31/10/2014 15:59

"You don't need to visit a Fortune Teller, Gypsy or otherwise, to see where this is going...."

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6. Posted by my tyres are going off, 31/10/2014 14:22

"where the heck (I would like to use stronger language) is the FIA due dilligence. How do you allow a potential team into F1 that has trouble contacting it's backers. conspiracy theory number 92...The FIA want rid of F1 and Bernie so that it can promote Formula E as the ultimate racing series!!!! Now I bet some of you are saying it's rubbish and just down to plain old incompetence at the FIA..time will tell."

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7. Posted by Hondawho?, 31/10/2014 12:16

"How much longer will we all be subjected to this continuos F1 bulls**t?

Lets be honest, its not only F1 its everything we read and hear about these days, claim, counter claim, this and that, its all becoming ridiculous.

My guess, is that the old adage "any publicity is good publicity" with modern communication is not really true any longer. Continuous "self promotion" without action just shows the organisations and groups along with individuals who use these tactics for the true characters they really are "Bullsh*ters

Either do or do not, talk and ideas are cheap.

I would, dare to say that even Mr E may be getting rather tired of all the nonsense going around, but i guess he has heard and seen it all before, maybe not to this level though? Who knows."

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8. Posted by Growler2, 31/10/2014 11:15

"I really shouldn't laugh at what is a serious situation for the poor chap, but I just couldn't contain myself when I read Cojocar's quote "... and I have found it very difficult to contact my backers in Romania." I wonder if, when he finally got through to them, they used the time-honoured excuse "The cheque's in the post"?
"

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9. Posted by MrShadow, 31/10/2014 10:04

"No gypsy jokes yet? But seriously with the continuing interest of Romanians in F1 I just wonder why there are no plans for a race in Bucharest yet."

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10. Posted by Paul C, 31/10/2014 2:45

"Gene Haas might as well buy into F1 now with Marussia. Running a Ferrari powered car that is slightly successful is a better starting point than HRT, Caterham and Virgin Racing had."

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11. Posted by kiwi2wheels, 30/10/2014 22:51

"Shall we have a Pit Pass " go or no go" sweepstakes....? A " New F 1 Teams " Pool perhaps ?

That way, in a couple of years , no one will have to say " I told you so "......

The world has gone mad ."

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12. Posted by ape, 30/10/2014 22:45

"Good to get again some stepping stones for young engineers and drivers , let us not forget that Riciardo and Alonso started in these kind of teams."

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13. Posted by White Lightning, 30/10/2014 22:00

"Sarcastic? Moi?

*Innocent face*"

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14. Posted by Editor, 30/10/2014 20:15

"@ White Lightning

Am I detecting the merest hint of sarcasm?"

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15. Posted by White Lightning, 30/10/2014 18:53

"This is a really good idea."

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