In late 2019, MIM released a statement announcing its hopes to enter F1 in 2021.
“The team is now at an advanced stage of negotiations with current Formula One teams and engine manufacturers to ensure the best possible partnership for a competitive Spanish Formula One team from 2021 and onwards,” it read.
Seemingly, discussions had already been held with (then) F1 boss, Chase Carey and Ross Brawn, the Briton subsequently revealing that due to the new rules proposed for 2021 – which were subsequently postponed by a year – including a budget cap and a more equal division of the prize money, there had been a “a surprising number” of enquiries from prospective teams.
“From the first meeting with Chase Carey at the Spanish F1 Grand Prix in Barcelona on May 11th, and through the following meetings at F1 Group Headquarters in London with Ross Brawn on May 15th, and July 31st, it was clear that a Spanish team would fill a void left by the retirement of Fernando Alonso, and increase the interest of the Spanish fans and the TV and Media audience,” said the MIM statement.
“Further, the support of the Spanish Federation, the availability of the Campos Racing Facility, as well as the know-how of the Campos Racing Team, already competing and winning in Formula 2 and Formula 3, make Spain the perfect home for a new Formula 1 team.”
The statement revealed that the project was “at an advanced stage of negotiations with current teams and engine manufacturers to ensure the best possible partnership for a competitive Spanish Formula 1 team from 2021 and onwards.
“Joining the world championship in 2021 shall be a long-term project,” said Campos CEO Salvatore Gandolfo, founder of the Vexatec, which produces data-tracking sportswear. “We are aware of the big challenges ahead of us, but we have a team of experts working day and night and the financial solidity required by the FIA to make this project a success.
“With the new budget cap, the new distribution of incomes and the new technical and sporting regulations, there is a great opportunity for smaller teams to compete and ultimately to make the FIA Formula 1 World Championship more interesting and balanced again.”
Peter McCool, formerly with Super Aguri, had seemingly been recruited as technical director, while Ben Wood, formerly Super Aguri and Brawn GP, was to be the chief aerodynamicist.
However, two spanners were subsequently thrown into the works.
While the first was the pandemic, which meant the new rules were postponed until 2022, the other was the proposal that new teams entering the sport should pay $200m (£154m) to the existing ten teams.
With the sport moving more and more towards a franchise-based system, the move was seen as an attempt to ease the (financial) situation whereby the prize pot is diluted should a new team seek to enter the sport.
Whereas the prize pot is currently divided among ten teams, an eleventh or twelfth team would see the dividend decrease, hence the call for new teams to pay the $200m as financial compensation.
“What that $200m is intended to do is to protect the value of the existing teams,” said Zak Brown at the time.
“If you believe in the franchise value growth of Formula 1 then you’ll get that $200million back and then some at a later date,” he added, the new rule seemingly forming part of the new Concorde Agreement that had recently been signed by all the teams.
“The way the regulations are written there is the ability for Liberty and the teams to agree to adjust that number,” he added. “I think what we’re trying to do as an industry is stop what we’ve had in the past where a USF1 announces they are going Formula 1 racing and they never get to the track.
“The $200m is intended to really make sure that if someone is coming into the sport they have the wherewithal to do it, and we don’t have what we’ve historically had which is random announcements that people are going to come in and then they never make it to the track. I don’t think you’d ever see that in other major forms of sport.”
Speaking recently however, (new) F1 boss, Stefano Domenicali admitted that, in the right circumstances, the fee could be scrapped.
Step forward Monaco Increase Management.
In a statement released yesterday, Gandolfo said that “the current Monaco F1 Racing Team Project was the first to actively discuss the possibility of an entry with the F1 governance, as early as 2019, and to set up a structure accordingly, realising the potential of the new Technical Regulation that was initially supposed to come into force in 2021 (and was subsequently delayed because of the pandemic).
“We believe that the recent statements of the new F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, which suggest that the $200m entry fee for new teams could be waived, represent a step forward in the right direction.
“We appreciate the open attitude of both Stefano and the FIA and are ready to take the necessary steps in order to have our application finalised.”