Much advertised racing car hoax

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Jackie Stewart and Ken Tyrrell used March chassis in 1970
Jackie Stewart and Ken Tyrrell used March chassis in 1970

March is the latest outfit to reveal it has lodged a bid to compete in F1 in 2010.

The team has not been seen in Formula 1 since it optimistically sent two chassis to Kyalami for the 1993 South African Grand Prix, despite not being able to pay for a supply of engines.

That brought to an end the F1 involvement of a team whose origins lie with the man who is agitating for a surge of new entries to Formula 1 – Max Mosley.

In 1970 Mosley joined Graham Coaker, Robin Herd and Alan Rees in contributing ??2,500 each to get the team started.

At the season opener at Kyalami – scene of the final act in the team’s F1 history 33 years later – no fewer than five March chassis were present. One-fifth of the 25-strong entry.

The Tyrrell-entered March of world champion Jackie Stewart started from pole position and finished third. Chris Amon, in a March entered by the team that built it, started alongside Stewart on the front row having set an identical lap time in qualifying (to within one tenth of a second).

Stewart won the second race of the year at Jarama – underlining the promise of the new constructor. This is all somewhat ironic given the bitter enmity between Stewart and Mosley today.

However the team was also noteworthy for its chronic lack of funds, from which it acquired the sobriquet ‘Much Advertised Racing Car Hoax’. (March actually stood for Mosley, Alan Rees, Coaker and Herd.)

Then as now

The parallels between the state of Formula 1 in 1970 and the changes Mosley is advocating for 2010 are startling.

An abundance of relatively cheap Ford-Cosworth DFV engines made possible the existence of new teams like March and Surtees and, one year earlier, Frank Williams Racing Cars. Today it is Cosworth who, at the FIA’s behest, are standing by to provide cheap engines for any teams that need them in 2010.

Just as today, the new teams were derided by Ferrari, who railed against the ‘garagiste’ entries with their off-the-shelf engines, gearboxes and chassis.

Mosley sold his stake in March in 1977. Today it seems his sights are fixed on re-creating in 2010 the conditions that allowed March to enter five cars with comparatively little funds four decades earlier.

Will Mosley’s budget cap allow the like of March, Prodrive, Lola, Superfund, USF1, Litespeed, Epsilon Euskadi and Campos Meta1 to enter F1 in 2010?

Or will we find ourselves talking about another Much Advertised Racing Car Hoax?

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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66 comments on “Much advertised racing car hoax”

  1. No, just no.

    1. Erm, no to what?

  2. if they allow customer cars then the presence of March or a similar outfit (perhaps Lola) could very well be possible.

  3. Now, why does that not surprise me?

  4. Aaron Shearer
    3rd June 2009, 0:26

    The thing that has been bugging me is who will be running this ‘new’ March F1 team? It’s nice to see that some old constructors are considering re-entering the sport.

    The only thing that I can see a problem with is what happens if they run out of money halfway through the season; it’ll just look plain stupid. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen!

    1. after super aguri, i think teams should be required to have, or have access to, the money needed prior to the start of the season. this may be in place already, in the form of a retainer held by either fia or fom.

      1. There was a multi-million bond for just that. F1Yankee. (48 million dollars, I think)
        It was the main reason that smaller teams couldn`t get into the sport (more so than amounts teams were spending) but then it was designed to be just that.
        Max & Bernie were going through their We Want Manufacturers & Money phase which Max seems to have subsequently decided (since FOTA was formed & the teams have got together to turn on the powers that be) is a big no-no because he can’t control them as easily as the little guys.

  5. Svlad Cjelli
    3rd June 2009, 0:27

    I’d rather see an influx of privateers entering F1 than ferrari staying.

    1. Instead of disregarding F1’s history, why not have both?

      1. Svlad Cjelli
        3rd June 2009, 9:29

        What’s history got to do with anything? Live in the present, not the past.

        1. The present requires people to spend money. Ferrari has the largest chunk of fans & they tend to spend the most money. Whether you like them or hate them, take their money out of the sport & you lose sponsors, circuits, TV broadcasters & potential future customers.
          Most people around the world have heard of the name Ferrari. Bernie may have trouble selling F1 to countries if the big teams leave & all that`s left are the smaller teams which many countires won’t know from Adam.

        2. F1 simply can’t afford to and shouldn’t lose its most famous team. But it is also clear that it would be good to have new teams.

        3. What’s history got to do with anything?

          That’s probably the single most ignorant thing I’ve seen anyone post on this site.

          1. Svlad Cjelli
            3rd June 2009, 15:26


        4. What’s history got to do with anything? Live in the present, not the past.

          Speaking as someone with a history degree…

          As the cliche goes “those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it”. The problems F1 faces now has its roots in how the sport has been governed in the past. And it has parallels with the history of other racing championships – for example, I don’t see how anyone with an understanding of the CART/IRL split in the mid-90s could think such a thing would be positive for F1.

          Ignore history at your peril. It’s the first mistake of the unwise.

          1. Well said Keith!
            I too have a history degree and often find it frustrating when people ignore the fact that there are practical lessons to be learned everywhere, from business, politics, to auto racing, by examining the past.

            I think one of the main attractions of this site involves your’s and the fan’s understanding of the sport’s history which helps us contextualize it, apprieciate it, and clearly see the direction it is going.

            As for Ferrari, its rich history is to valuable to be pushed away, both in terms of F1 marketing and for the sentimental F1 fanatic!

          2. And the beauty of the CART/IRL split is that 15 years later, we have the exact same series that CART was with a smaller fan base, lower TV ratings, a split record book, and Tony George spend millions of his family’s money to make it all happen. I wonder why he might get the boot? F1 better beware.

  6. michael counsell
    3rd June 2009, 0:42

    I’d love to see all of them enter even if it mean having split practice sessions (odd numbered cars run in one seesion, even numbers in the next) and qualifying to actually get into the race.

    With 18 teams entering 36 cars. The bottom 26 drivers in the chmapionship have a qualifying session to decide which 10 don’t make the main race and instead compete in a sprint race before the main event.

    The 26 qualifiers then go on to qualifying as we knwo it today…

    1. I’m not so sure. 26 is enough.
      How many garage slots does Monaco have?

      In the past there was pre-qualifying just to get into qualifying. I don’t think F1 should go back to this. If a team is spending £40m a year they should be allowed to qualify for a grid slot. Unless we have a major issue with slow cars, then you have to bring back the 107% rule (or does that still stand?).

      1. Unless we have a major issue with slow cars, then you have to bring back the 107% rule (or does that still stand?).

        It was indeed scrapped in 2003, and hasn’t been back since.

  7. I really like the idea of more teams in F1. We should go back to the old days where the drivers have to qualify for the limited number of spots on the grid, it will make things a lot more interesting.

    These new outfits are a more likely to run at the lower end of the grid, which would make the scuffle in the back a lot more interesting. If the number of teams increase significantly, the points system should be altered as well. Doesn’t make sense to have 26 cars fighting for points only up 8th. Following the current 40% rule, cars up to 10th or 11th should be given points.

  8. I love the idea of more team in F1, especially privateer teams. I even like the idea of cheap Cosworth engines; That is, as long as everyone is racing under the same set of rules and not this “Two-Tier” nonsense.

  9. Look to NASCAR to see what happens to teams that don’t make races. . .they fold quickly because sponsors will not pony up the money to have their car not enter the race and be seen. awarding points to the entire (finishing?) field would also be a good idea so the teams at the back have a way to measure success to their sponsors. . .if that is something F1 cares about.

  10. Yes, yes please! For all those who wish to see say Hammy and Kimi racing in the same car to see who is best, this way of having smaller teams using the same cars could allow for Hammy in a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and Kimi in a Prodrive/AM McLaren Mercedes.
    I still don’t understand why the Manufacturers have not seen the obvious way to keep in the sport (either by building cars or just supplying engines), but not actually running the teams.
    Even the great Ferrari have sold cars to other teams in the past (Ferrari US), but I’m not sure if that was for F1…..
    And as long as there is still a mix of chassis and engines across the grid (even different engines in the same chassis), it cannot be called a ‘Spec’ series.

    1. I think this is the strategy behind Max’s budget cap idea… I think it’s brilliant & will result in some really great racing once all the kinks have been worked out.

  11. As long as they paint their cars bright turqoise, I’d love to see them back.

  12. Jonesracing82
    3rd June 2009, 9:04

    i’d personally love to see a return to the days of 40 cars entering race weekends! witht eh budget caps the cars/teams that dont qualify go home and dont go broke! they also wont be seen after lunch on a friday to “disgrace” bernie and max’s sport.
    better yet, thursdays could be pre-qualifying day! with all cars on track for the day with the fastest 30 going through to friday, from then they all compete and after quali only 26 race!
    remember the old “one man teams” with just 1 car?

  13. they should introduce two further points.

    one for the fastest lap and a second point for the biggest gainer of the day. That would help the privateer teams out a bit more in measuring their success.

  14. The established teams have nothing against new teams entering. It`s the quality of the sport itself they don`t want to see downgraded.
    Sure, it would be great to see large entry fields & a return to proper qualifying but that wouldn`t work under the current way that the teams are paid. How much should a team be willing to spend to fly around the world & never get to race?
    Of the teams entered for 2010 some will probably never make it to the grid (& even under the cap would most likely not have run or, if they did, only for a limited period).
    Has anyone else wondered how the undisclosed Late Payment Fee will work? It seems that some of the new teams missed the deadline. Is it undisclosed so the FIA can charge individual teams what they decide with no fixed rate? That will be just another way of setting up a divide & conquer base & ‘buying’ off loyalties.

  15. GooddayBruce
    3rd June 2009, 12:56

    If he is, it will be yet another spectacular u-turn from the man who watched as Bernie encouraged car manufacturers to subsidise racing teams, driving up costs and driving out of the sport teams like Tyrell, Jordan, Minardi, Sauber; and Great teams like Williams to the back of the grid.

    Now Max wants to reset F1 back to 1970? If he does it is not for any particular reason other than just because he can. As usual it will be for his own selfish needs. His apparent need for constant conflict, to wield his power.

    I guess now that his secret recreational past times are common knowledge he probably isn’t getting his regular fix, so he feels the need to lord over F1.

    This man needs an hour in the dungeon quick smart!

    1. As usual it will be for his own selfish needs. His apparent need for constant conflict, to wield his power.

      If we do end up with an F1 that has Litespeed and Epsilon Euskadi, but doesn’t have Ferrari or McLaren, it will be final proof of that suspicion, which many have held for a long time.

  16. I am all for new teams, but does the potential new outfit called March actually have any connection to the old F1 team?

    The Autosport article says

    March Racing Organisation still exists as a non-trading registered company, despite not having any involvement in motorsport since the F1 team collapsed in the build-up to the 1993 season.
    The company is owned by British businessman and chairman of English football club Swindon Town, Andrew Fitton, who acquired March in 1993.

    It sounds to me as if he bought the name when the team collapsed, hasn’t done anything with it since then and just thought he would have a go at F1 when he heard about the budget cap.

    These are the sort of teams that Ferrari criticised in their recent statement about the potential new teams, and in cases like this I agree with them.

    I think only teams who are currently racing in other series or can who prove they have all the detailed plans in place such as USF1 should be allowed into F1.

    Also I am against teams using the name of former F1 teams unless there is a real connection to the old team. I would love Lotus to still be in F1 but not if it meant it was just some new team who had bought the name for promo reasons.

    1. March was actually a group of companies associated with Robin Herd, which started off being a racing car constructor in 1970 before branching into other things. Fitton owns one of the March companies, not just naming rights.

      The works F1 team initially ran cars until the late 1970s before pulling out to focus on production racing cars for F2 and other series. March-built F1 cars returned in the early 1980s, run by RAM with little success. A proper works effort returned in the late 1980s but was sold to Japanese sponsor Leyton House, after which the team was renamed. Leyton House went bust in the early 1990s and the team became March again before closing down in early 1993.

      The part of the group that produced customer racing cars was successful in F2, F3000 and Indycars but was in decline by the late 1980s. It acquired Ralt but ran into financial problems and was eventually sold to Fitton, a “company doctor” who had grand plans for the marque. A radical looking Ralt F3 car was produced for late 1993 but it didn’t work very well. A works F3 car was run in 1994 (called a March I think) but also failed.

      The company then split in two with Fitton keeping the non-trading, inactive part of the company. Although Fitton’s March may have every right to use the name in racing (although Herd might dispute that), it certainly isn’t the same company as Herd’s March or indeed the March that was started by Herd and Mosley in 1970. As you say, it’s a famous name with little behind it.

      Incidentally, the Lotus name was revived in 1995 through the Pacific F1 team whose cars were to be known as Pacific Team Lotus. It never really went any further than the launch.

      1. Thanks for the extra info, Tim.

  17. Svlad Cjelli
    3rd June 2009, 15:31

    Who cares about Ferrari anyway???? Call their bluff and let’s move on. Roll on 2010 without the prima donas.

    1. The millions of fans around the world ”cares about Ferrari anyway????”

      1. Svlad Cjelli
        3rd June 2009, 20:34

        really? name them

        1. How long have you got? :)

          1. Svlad Cjelli
            3rd June 2009, 23:49

            as long as you’ve got…..

    2. Who cares about Ferrari anyway????

      I’ve been to Grands Prix at Silverstone, Monza, Istanbul and Spa, and at each of those venues if you subtracted the fans in red caps you’d halve the crowd in size. At best.

      At Monza there’d probably only be a few hundred left.

      1. I can remember Ferrari in the pre-Schuey days when the Tifosi would only stay as long as the cars were running.
        Once the cars crashed/stopped, the Tifosi left the circuit. There might still be video of a Monza(?) race where the helicopter camera watches a couple of stands empty in minutes……

        1. LOL – Yes, the tifosi could be rather unforgiving but then they don`t like queueing so it paid to make an early getaway ;)

  18. I wouldn’t have anything against there being even 20 or more teams. I want F1 to feel like it’s a World championship, not a championship of a closed circle elite.

    1. And another stumbling block to a true world championship? No events in Africa or even North America, with only one in South America.

      1. Svlad Cjelli
        3rd June 2009, 20:36

        You’re being silly, you’ll be wanting a race in every country next to qualify a true world championship

        1. You’re being silly, you’ll be wanting a race in every country next to qualify a true world championship

          I think he’s pointing out how many racing destinations have been lost to Formula 1. All the venues he mentioned used to hold one or more races. The United States alone once held three in a single season (1982).

    2. I totally agree!

  19. Now there are also rumours a team using the name ‘Brabham’ could return to F1 – meaning, along with March, the two team names Mosley and Ecclestone were formerly involved with could potentially return.

    What next? Life? Andrea Moda? EuroBrun?

    1. Ohh ohh… Life… with a W12 Cosworth engine that doesn’t fit under the engine cover!

    2. Autosport say a German businessman has used the Brabham name to lodge an entry for 2010.

      1. HounslowBusGarage
        4th June 2009, 17:54

        Good grief!
        It’ll be Lotus next.

  20. Has anyone looked in to whether the Cosworth will run effectively at the 18000rpm limit?

  21. In fact I’ve tipped over the line to be at the stage of ranting after reading the news about today and the Toyota line. So I’m declaring as personally being against FOTA and pro the FIA line.

    I see new blood with young teams that struggle for finance and innovation as being able to provide far more interesting future history. One with surprises that captivate attention rather than just the bland spend spend spend down a prescription of CFD and tunnels and aviation engineering process bureaucracy with fans following just the few pugilist team colours while demanding little more than the money that is put in gets their colours results and ignoring rewards for personal character of all involved and how hard some work against any odds of success without being among the few greedy teams that presume a right to use funding and rules to corner access to the prize.

    And otherwise to fill the ever depleting grid we rely on insanely rich benefactors willing to put it up against the wall chasing a dream that can only fail in the long term because just like Branson determines it doesn’t pay across the whole of a brand cycle (it may be OK for a while with a young brand on the way up but long term it doesn’t pay so a brand owner shouldn’t be a team owner).

    So for me it is about the anti trust issues and competition.

    1. I think you’re on to to something, I’ve reached many of the same conclusions myself. From a fan’s point of view, Max’s plan is the best way to go – the car manufacturers would have us watching processional racing for years to come with the winner decided by how much money was spent in the wind tunnel during the previous 6 months. I want the best race team & driver to win on track – not in the lab!

  22. You know what I realise I am in a minority here… but, like m0tion I totally am on the side of Bernie & Max.

    I’ve always felt the teams have been out of order in the way they have handled this. In more in recent years the real competition has been whittled down to just 2 teams, those teams that can spend the most. We’ve seen good teams fall off the edge as they can’t afford to keep up, only Williams have managed to keep their head above the water and still keep face, but they’ve never been able to compete on their budget. Formula 1 for more than 15 years has been about who can spend the most, and it has resulted in a lack of true competition and the FIA having to introduce stupid rules to spice up the racing.

    The only way we’re going to see a fair fight is to limit the resource available to a team by limiting the cash available. In the current economic climate it is the only sensible solution. Formula 1 is a race series to showcase the best drivers, not a business as it is today. Today it is purely a competition to get sponsorship and brand management. Simple.

    I am sick of seeing Manufacturers come into our various Motorsport series, take over, then leave at a whim, having sucked out all the privateer teams and leaving a mess behind them. I absolutely sick of it, today is no different. I don’t want manufacturers in Formula 1, just their engines if anything.

    …and to those that say Ferrari is a manufacturer… wrong! … Ferrari is a racing team, that sell cars to fund it… that was what Enzo did. He raced, he sold to race. Simple.

    1. I’m with you too – & many more people would be if they didn’t buy into the negative press regarding Mosley & the FIA spread buy FOTA. Curious observation – FOTA appears to represent the interests of F-errari & toy-OTA!

  23. Who do we have to blame for encouraging the manufacturers into F1 & actively pricing independents & smaller teams? Not the teams themselves but Bernie & Max.

  24. Fair point persempre, however I think the fault, if anything, with the FIA was not putting a control on costs earlier.

    When McLaren and Ferrari started outspending teams, and sharing the major sponsors between them, the smaller teams could not compete. The only people that could afford to buy these smaller broke teams, and have any chance of competing with the big two, were Manufacturers.

    Admittedly Bernie & Max, and probably most people, were not aware the slippery slope that was about to become. History (as in the last 10 years or so) has shown that known of these Manufacturers managed to compete successfully, why? because they are not racers! It’s not in their blood.

    Ford, BMW, Toyota, Honda, Renault, none of them have won a championship or come close to winning regularly. However, as engine suppliers (with Toyota the exception) they’ve all got multiple championships.

    The only race series that was anywhere near successful with Manufacturers was the BTCC in the 80’s… it was great there were loads of them, the racing was close, why? because the car was very closely based to the road version which had to be sold in the thousands. The DTM which is the Formula 1 of touring cars has always struggled with a few manufacturers only. Back to the BTCC, that was a short spell with the Manufacturers, now they have all left and it is a pale shadow of what it was… we need privateer teams, whose sole purpose is to race! Buy a car, make it race worthy, and race it… in the case of F1 make a car, buy an engine (or work with a manufacturer for an engine, but the engine only).

    1. Ford, BMW, Toyota, Honda, Renault, none of them have won a championship or come close to winning regularly. However, as engine suppliers (with Toyota the exception) they’ve all got multiple championships.

      Are you not including Renault in 2005 & 2006 because they had bought the Benetton team?

    2. The problem is, Dougie, that the FIA rules encourage vast expenditure.
      Every time they change regs it means more expense.
      Then we have things like KERS. Millions spent on a system which the auto industry already knows how to produce &, in some instances, already does.
      Things like the double diffuser issue, if sorted out well before the season would have kept costs lower, too. Why the FIA formed the OWG, accepted their suggestion & then immediately ignored what they (the FIA) had said was the OWG mission (more overtaking by less aero) baffles me.
      When you have rafts of regs so tight that it means spending millions to find that tiny edge it is not the teams fault for trying to do so. It’s the regulatory body`s fault.
      Yes, there are other series where spec & cheap can work. That was never what F1 was about &, for me, never should be.
      It`s like a teacher having to teach to the lowest common denominator of ability in a large class. It all sounds very fair & noble until you want your child to get a really good education.
      F1 seems to be about to stop being something to strive for & become a poor relative of what it once was.

      1. Firstly I don’t agree that the FIA has ignored OWG as we have less aero and more mechanical this year. If you are referring to the diffuser, this was a loophole in the rules that some teams spotted and took advantage of (as per your definition of F1). Max was in no position to change the rules again and had to let it run to court of appeal.

        F1 does not need to be a spec series, and that is in some ways what Max realises and is trying to avoid. £40mill with less restriction (in fact pretty much free for all). As you say all these tightening of the rules didn’t fix the problem, the teams would just spend more. Max has finally hit the nail on the head with the new regs, stick to £40mill and do what you like.

        The teams don’t like it because they are stuck in the spend to win mentality, and don’t like the idea of being beaten by smaller privateer outfits. Examples of that mentality are rife throughout motorsport, take the BTCC and MotoGP as an example, customer cars/bikes which are underpowered compared to the works efforts.

        1. Further to that thought – the big teams say their cost cutting measures have the same effect as the budget cap, so why not stick with the FIA cap? Simple, the FIA strategy doesn’t reward spending past a certain point, it rewards ingenuity. Ingenuity is not able to be controlled by increasing the budget – that is frightening the teams like F-errari & toy-OTA.

  25. Are you not including Renault in 2005 & 2006 because they had bought the Benetton team?

    Yep, accepted, Renault as a manufacturer team took the title those years…and in fairness Renault have come closest in the past also, and have more F1 racing history than the others. But where are they now?

    Personally I’ll be happy to see Flavio buy that team and take ownership under the £40mill cap rules… and more than happy to see Renault supply them the engine.

  26. Oh, and PJA… rather than picking holes in my opinion, why not give me your opinion on my point generally about the manufacturers controlling the sport, and your views in favour or against?

    1. Sorry, I did not mean to pick holes in your opinion. Personally I view the current Renault team more like McLaren than Toyota. In that the manufacturer builds and supplies the engines and lets the F1 team build the chassis, whereas Toyota tried to do it all themselves from scratch. I think one of the reasons for Toyota’s lack of success is down to their corporate mindset and not being racers like Williams.

      I am defiantly no fan of Max and Bernie, so in this conflict I am on the side of FOTA.
      Ideally I wouldn’t want the manufacturers running the sport as I don’t think they have F1’s best interests at heart, and as you point out they don’t usually stay around in the long term. Renault and BMW have both been in and out of F1 other the last few decades. The best option would be regime change at the FIA but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

      I would prefer it if it was easier for privateer teams to compete in F1 today and a budget cap could make this happen, but the way Mosley has tried to implement it has been all wrong.

      I think the only way you could make a budget cap work in F1 is if everyone, the FIA and the teams, worked together to sort out all the detail and then gradually lowered the total over a few years till it met the final target with everyone racing under the same rules.

      1. Cheers PJA, apologies for being blunt, and I respect your opinion as, in the main, I entirely agree with it (just from the other side of the FIA/FOTA fence) ;-)

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