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Home > India > Sports > Formula One > Reuters > Report

A1 boss scraps plan to buy F1 team

April 30, 2008 18:23 IST

A1 GP chairman Tony Teixeira said on Wednesday he had scrapped plans to buy a Formula One team after the sport changed its rules to ban the use of so-called 'customer cars'.

Teixeira told Reuters in an interview that A1, the self-styled World Cup of Motorsport that runs mostly during the European winter, had wanted to buy a Formula One team to promote the winners of his series.

"We wanted an A1 team in F1 where our winners from the A1 GP series would go and race in F1," he said. "The reason for that has always been that every kid's aspiration ultimately is to end up in F1."

Teixeira, whose cars will be designed and powered by Ferrari [Images] from next season, had talked to Ferrari-powered Spyker before that team were bought by Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya [Images] and renamed Force India.

He then switched his attention to Ferrari-powered Toro Rosso, co-owned by Austrian energy drink billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz and former racer Gerhard Berger.

Mateschitz said last month Red Bull would sell Toro Rosso before 2010 because of the change in rules forcing all teams to design and build their own cars. Teixeira said his talks with the team ended late last year.

"We wanted to be running at the top, and that means top 10," he explained.

"The only way we were going to achieve that was with the customer cars. In other words, we were going to be the Ferrari B team and that's why I was willing to buy Toro Rosso."

"Initially it was Spyker, because I already had a deal with Ferrari and that was the biggest thing that attracted me.

"I then made way for Vijay to buy Spyker because (F1 supremo) Bernie (Ecclestone) needed India and I said 'Fine, I'll make way and look more favourably at Toro Rosso', which had a similar agreement (with Ferrari)," continued the South African businessman.

"I sat with Toro Rosso and when we were close to a deal, F1 changed the rules: No customer cars. When they changed the rules, I was through.

"As you know, Prodrive walked away," he added, referring to that British company's decision not to take up the allocated slot as Formula One's 12th team.

"That was going to be the McLaren B team. It was going to be Red Bull running with Renault, Williams with Toyota and Aguri with Honda. That makes sense to us because there was no way we could go and develop our own chassis and be competitive.

"I don't profess to have that kind of money and even if I did I wouldn't put it into F1, it would be madness," added Teixeira.

"All we were looking to do was promote A1 through F1, because we still believe F1 is the biggest promoting machine available."

Teixeira was speaking before the final round of the A1 season at Brands Hatch and with Formula One facing the possibility of losing one of its 11 teams, struggling Super Aguri, before the next grand prix in Turkey.

Super Aguri are backed by Honda, with their car a development of last year's Honda. Toro Rosso and Red Bull Racing also run cars from a common design team but that will not be allowed after next year.

Teixeira said he had looked again at Super Aguri as recently as 10 days ago but could see nothing there of interest to A1.

"If the rules change, we will be the first guys to look for a team," he said.

"I think everyone knows that, Dietrich Mateschitz knows, while I have explained to Super Aguri that I can't be Honda and Ferrari.

"If the rules change, I would look for a spot in F1. If the rules don't change, there's nothing in it for us."

© Copyright 2008 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.
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