Coming out of the woodwork.....


Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
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Something odd seems to be happening in the world of motorsport of late. For those of you who thumb through the pages of motoring magazines such as Autosport or Motorsport you may have read a couple of articles about various manufacturers expressing an interest in returning to front line racing. At a time when the economies of most countries are balancing on a knife edge it would seem that their timing is rather strange.

Recently both Volkswagen and Porche have openly spoken of entering into F1. In Porches case they have spoken of the need to control their own F1 destiny, implying that a full works entry would be the way forward for them. Volkswagen have long be linked to F1 through their own name or any of the several brands that they own and it would seem most likely that they would look to enter as an engine supplier at first but who knows where that may lead.

Outside of F1, SAAB, a company that just a couple of years ago were on the brink of total collapse, have expressed an interest in entering the World Rally Championships.

Lotus, a car maker almost permanently jumping from one financial mess to the next, returned as a name to F1 this year however since dipping their toes back into the water, Group Lotus have gone on to invest heavily in a GP2 team and have annoucned that their GT4 programme will be expanded to include an LMP2 entry for 2012 and a full LMP1 entry to follow.

Major investment in global motorsport is a risky buisness for any car company and even more so in the present climate. In recent years the giant American car makers have had to go cap in hand to the US Government for loans to survive while shedding their interests abroad with the sales of big names such as Jaguar/Land Rover, Aston Martin, SAAB and Vauxhall/Opal. Most of the European car makers have curtailed their activities somewhat and rationalised a lot of their work.

So the question is, why now and is motorsport still the most effective way of putting your name in the market?
Very good question, didn't Porsche submit that they would come back as an engine manufacturer only as under their umbrella they also have Audi motorsport who compete in the LMP1? And why have 2 brands from the same group compete against each other.

This I think get to the heart of the matter in that so many marques are now owned by multinational corporations they can now subsidise the "racing" brands through the sales of their bread and butter cars, didn't work for Toyota tho did it ;)
It should have worked for Toyota, since they had the budget. But they also had a management team based in Japan calling the shots instead of letting the team in Germany run themselves.
Could it be to do with Max not running the FIA anymore? Maybe, just maybe these manufacturers had run-ins with Max and didn't want to get whipped, thereby ensuring that they stayed out of the way. Now that there is a new figurehead in place, they could figure that it is worth the investment after seeing the changes that have already taken place.

Or perhaps its the change in engine regulations through many championships that is making the difference..
Maybe Volkswagen will enter F1 under the Bugatti name? It's been a few years since a Bugatti lined up on the grid for a Grand Prix race (nearly 70 years in fact). I'm struggling to think who else might want to enter F1 though. Toyota and Honda got their fingers burned, Peugeot are wedded to sports car racing, Ford had a bad time under the Jaguar banner. Kia or Chevrolet maybe?

After the success (?) of the Korean Grand Prix the guy at the top of the company running the race wants to push for a Korean team and driver in F1.

Hyundai versus Proton in 2012?
I'd have thought it's the perfect time to enter F1 - there are a number of existing teams for sale at rock-bottom prices, a commitment to keeping costs low and, most importantly, very little opposition in terms of rival manufacturers.

If you're Porsche, you know that your first season is likely to be a tough one and it might cost you some kudos in comparison to your direct rival brands. So it's better, surely, to take the pain of that against only Ferrari and Mercedes, rather than waiting for Audi, BMW, Lexus or whomever to join the fray?
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