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Ecclestone backs Stefan for 2010 grid slot

ESPNF1 Staff
February 3, 2010 « Rule changes close to final approval | »
Bernie Ecclestone wants ro see Stefan GP in F1 this year © Getty Images

Bernie Ecclestone is backing Stefan GP to get a grid spot this season, and sees Ralf Schumacher as an ideal candidate to head its driver line up.

The Serbian team, owned by millionaire Zoran Stefanovic, is currently operating out of Toyota's old factory in Cologne, after striking a deal to take over development of the ex-F1 team's 2010 chassis and engine. It has already said it will test at the end of February and that it intends to send equipment to the first race in Bahrain to prove its credentials as a viable F1 outfit.

Now Ecclestone has thrown his support behind Stefan GP and believes it could replace any team that fails to make the opening race.

"I do not believe in the participation of US F1 and Campos," he told German publication Sport Bild. "Instead, I have good contact with Stefan and am trying to get this team a starting place. Ralf Schumacher would be an ideal driver for them. He has experience, he knows the team."

Schumacher hasn't competed in F1 since he left Toyota in 2007, but showed an interest in making a comeback around the same time as his brother Michael said he would return last year. Ex-Williams and Toyota-backed driver Kazuki Nakajima is expected to test for Stefan GP at the Portimao circuit in the Algarve in late February and is likely to be a strong candidate for a drive if the team is allowed to race.

Former-McLaren designer and Spygate plotter Mike Coughlan is on the technical staff and it is believed that long-time McLaren team manager and Liegate conspirator Dave Ryan and ex-Midland, Spyker and Force India team prinicipal Colin Kolles are also involved with the team.

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