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Stefan GP and Mike Coughlan

NEWS STORY
02/08/2009

We all know now that the European Commission has received a complaint from Stefan GP about alleged bias towards teams using Cosworth engines when the FIA selected the new entrants for 2010. If this leads to an investigation it could see the entry plans of the three selected teams, Manor, Campos and USF1, hit the buffers. However, as ever with F1, there is more to this tale than just the headline.

Stefan GP was one of the few teams which applied for a grid slot in 2010 but was not known to have put in an application. However, it seems that the outfit is one of the best-equipped to take up a place.

The team is owned by AMCO, a Serbian engineering firm which produces cars, motorcycles and aerospace components. Its team has access to two windtunnels and some illustrious staff. AMCO's chief executive Zoran Stefanovic told Pitpass' business editor Chris Sylt: "we secured the service of Mike Coughlan for chief designer and we also have several more experienced people with us."

Coughlan of course has a long career in F1 with Arrows and McLaren and although he left the Woking team after being found to be at the heart of the spygate saga, he is free to work in the sport. In February this year, the FIA lifted restrictions imposed on Coughlan which had involved the governing body recommending that licence holders should be wary of working with him. He has reportedly also been working for Ricardo Transmissions but, presumably, he will be on the edge of his seat waiting for the EC's response, since if it investigates the selection process there is a chance he could return to F1 with Stefan GP.

"We have facilities, wind tunnels, and we have people. Our domestic staff has technical knowledge and we have been involved with aerospace production for years," says Stefanovic, although he stresses, "AMCO Corporation doesn't say we are best in the world, we are just good enough to be serious contender in F1."

Stafanovic is adamant that his complaint to the EC "will be of benefit to all involved, especially to spectators." He explains this by saying that his "expectations are that the selection process will be reviewed and, according to EU rules, declared automatically void. And we are looking forward to new selection process to be held."

If this does indeed take place then fans may see new teams next year which are chosen purely on merit rather than those which agreed to use a Cosworth engine.

"We strongly believe that a Formula 1 team opportunity must be available to all in the world. Not just to a few in very limited number of countries," says Stefanovic and, perhaps giving an indication of how dedicated he is to seeing his complaint through, he concludes "we are not going to stop."

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