Lola Eyeing Up F1 Return For 2010

James BroomheadAnalyst IApril 22, 2009

29 Feb 1997:  Lola drivers Vincenzo Sospiri of Italy (left), Andrea Montermini of Italy (right) and Ricardo Rosset of Brazil (in car)  during the Lola Team Launch at the Hilton Hotel in London. \ Mandatory Credit: Gary M Prior /Allsport

English race car builder Lola International has confirmed it is "evaluating" a return to the highest echelon of motorsport 13 years after their last disastrous attempt.

Chairman Martin Birrane commented that the FIA's recent decision to offer an option of a £30m "cap' has led to Lola "deciding to fully evaluate the opportunity".

Exactly how far into this evaluation Lola is remains unknown. However, a news story on their official website describes how they have "appointed key new staff to the project and allocated some of its top engineers to this stage of the evaluation'".

Since the two race outing, and to say race is misleading as they fell foul of the 107 percent qualifying rule both times, of Lola's works F1 team in 1997, the manufacturer has concentrated on other forms of motorsport with varying degrees of success.

They were the makers of the original A1GP car, before a Ferrari based model replaced them for the current season as well as several other open wheel formulae.

However, they are currently best known for their prototype class sportscars, most notably the Dyson Racing American Le Mans Series P2 team, and the Lola Aston Martin P1 team, which is in its debut season in Europe and currently has three entrants for the Le Mans 24 Hours in June.

Clearly any project would bring a significant level of expertise and possibly investment—the name being arguably even more recognisable than in 1997. However, if technicians are being taken from these top line sportscar projects to furnish the F1 team partners, especially Aston Martin, may be unhappy as development falls behind.