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Stefan GP expecting entry confirmation within a week

ESPNF1 Staff
February 24, 2010 « Rampf steps down as Sauber technical director | »
Zoran Stefanovic with a mock-up of the S-01 © Stefan GP

Stefan GP boss Zoran Stefanovic is expecting to know in a week's time whether his team will be on the grid for the season opener in Bahrain.

With US F1 looking less and less likely to make the first race, Stefan GP is hoping to be granted a position on the official entry list instead. The team has a Toyota-based chassis and engine ready to run and Stefanovic is confident he will reach a deal with the FIA within the next week.

"Definitely, we are waiting for something to happen because the time is very short and the deadline for Bahrain is approaching," he told Reuters. "If you are going to Bahrain you have to be packed by next Wednesday and we think we will be able to reach something by then." When asked if his outfit could join F1 later in the season, he said: "Technically it's possible but we are going to be in Bahrain. We are not saying it's for sure, but we are looking forward to it."

Stefan GP faced its first major setback this week when it was forced to cancel its first test due to a lack of suitable tyres. However, Stefanovic is hopeful a solution will be found that will see his car run before the start of the season.

"We have been unable to get the Formula One tyres because the FIA and Formula One have a contract stipulating that only the teams that are already in Formula One can get the Bridgestone tyres," Stefanovic said. "We believe the FIA has to release the proper tyres to us for safety reasons. We expect it to happen and we have very good faith that it is going to happen."

He also said that he was on the brink of confirming 1997 champion Jacques Villeneuve as a driver alongside ex-Williams man Kazuki Nakajima.

"It's not happened yet but everything except his signature has been done," Stefanovic said. "Probably in the next two or three days, we will be reaching some sort of an agreement."

He added that he has the support of Bernie Ecclestone in bringing the Serbian team to Formula One.

"I've been involved in engineering in the last five years and I've been interested in Formula One for a long time," he said. "I think Bernie supports everyone and I think he supports us because we are pushing for it. We are working, not talking.

"The impact will be huge and a lot of people in Serbia don't realise that yet. The positive image of Serbia being a part of Formula One is something any country would wish for, so it's a plus one way or another. Also, it's a huge opportunity to get into high-tech business."