Lola will enter F1 if budget cap is in place

Lola have signalled their intent to enter F1 in 2010 providing the mooted budget cap is in place.

The organisation, which last entered the sport in 1997, made a statement in which they stated that it was the first talk of cost cuts that interested them again.

“The original cap of £30 million, including engines, formed the basis of Lola’s initial interest,” said the statement.

“The decision by the WMSC to revise the figure to £40 million plus engines, marketing, hospitality and driver fees led to a re-examination of the opportunity by Lola culminating in today’s confirmation that it will proceed with its Formula 1 project.

“The Lola Group believes that the WMSC decisions relating to cost-capping and the provision of revised technical regulations to facilitate the entry of new teams into Formula 1 should be embraced. This is not only prudent considering the backdrop of global economics but also taking into account the need for new teams to be able to compete credibly against long established entrants.”

The news comes as a conclusion to the latest negotiations looks to be on the cards. The original budget cap plan, which had an opt-out clause but allowed more technical freedom to those who opted in, will most likely lose the opt-out clause after Bernie Ecclestone yesterday rubbished the idea of a two-tier rule system.

A restriction on the amount teams can spend will most likely remain, however. The challenge now for the FIA is to negotiate an amout high enough to please the big teams, but low enough to interest potential entrants. It seems that Lola will not tolerate the budget cap going much higher, whereas teams like Ferrari will pressure the World Motor Sport Council to increase the number.

Lola emphasised the need for a level playing field in their statement.

“Lola looks forward to competing with the existing teams who enjoy decades of experience. The question of speed differentials, safety and the spectacle of Formula 1 must also be considered.

“The Lola Group is forging ahead with its Formula 1 project with the objective of securing an entry into the 2010 FIA Formula 1 World Championship and in the expectation that the decisions of the WMSC will be respected in full.”