When i was looking into the rumours of Campos Racing and their planned Formula One comeback, I found out that another team is looking forward to enter the Formula One per 2021. The Russian owner of SMP Racing team, Boris Rotenberg, is looking to set up an all-Russian Formula One team for 2021. How serious can we take this all-Russian F1 team attempt?
Earlier this year in July SMP Racing announced they would withdraw its pair of LMP1 entries from the 2019/2020 FIA World Endurance Championship season. For the LMP1 SMP Racing constructed their own BR Engineering BR1-AER which was more or less successful in a race series dominated by Toyota. After the 24 Heures du Mans the team left WEC.
Already in 2016 Russian driver, Vitaly Petrov (former driver for Renault, Lotus and Catherham) said in an interview with Canal Plus that SMP Racing was looking towards Formula One. However, SMP choose for the WEC LMP1 series. During the years, the name of SMP appeared several times in the rumour mill. SMP Racing has the potential to race in the Formula One but will they really appear on the grid?
To answer that question we have to look further in the team. SMP Bank is the funding father of the SMP Racing team, which is owned by Boris Rotenberg. The team exist for a couple of years, and is active with their own team, and sponsor in several race series. The team’s focus is to unveil new and young, mostly Russian, talent and give them a podium. As well, Boris is close with Vladimir Putin, this means more or less that the team will be supported by the Russian Federation.
Financially it should not be a problem for SMP Racing to enter the Formula One and setup a team from scratch. As said SMP Racing is active in several race series backed by the SMP bank. In Sochi, during the Russian Grand Prix, the Russian minister of trade and industry Denis Manturov said, “It’s a matter of time, before a Russian F1 team will appear on the grid”.
The signs are on green for the team. Funds shouldn’t be a problem either and with drivers as Robert Shwartzman the team could be competitive. However, Liberty Media recently explained that there are no serious talks with teams/investors who want to enter the Formula One in 2021. Besides SMP Racing the Spanish Campos Racing and Panthera Team Asia F1 (known for their “attempt” in 2017 as China F1 Racing Team Limited) are planning an entry.
So Liberty Media, what is the problem with these three teams whiling to invest millions to race in the Formula One? Is it because there are still no American teams/investors interested to set up an all-American team? I guess that’s the problem.