New Formula One team could be based in the Middle East

Former F1 boss Craig Pollock reveals 'intense discussions' are ongoing for team spilt 50-50 between men and women

Red Bull's Max Verstappen celebrates with teammate Sergio Perez after winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on November 20, 2022. Reuters
Powered by automated translation

The Formula One world championship could soon have a team based in the Gulf, a former racing boss has said.

Former team chief Craig Pollock revealed he has been working for four years on a new plan to return to the sport with a team in which the workforce is split 50-50 between men and women.

The Scottish-born businessman has refused to say exactly where the team would be based, but the news comes shortly after F1 governing body, the FIA, announced it would be accepting at least one more team to the 10-outfit grid from 2025.

And Pollock revealed he had thrown his hat into the ring and is awaiting news.

Given the complexities of converting an existing operation to his project called Formula Equal, he told CNN it would be easier to start from scratch.

The former ski instructor managed Jacques Villeneuve to titles in F1 and its American equivalent, Indycar, as well as the Indy 500.

He was part of the consortium that turned the ailing Tyrrell team into BAR. It then became Honda before the transfer of ownership into two famous world championship winning outfits based at Brackley in England.

The first was Brawn, which won the world title with Jenson Button in 2009, before it morphed into Mercedes and, with Lewis Hamilton on board, became the most successful operation of modern times, winning seven straight constructors' championships and made the British ace No 1 six times.

Saudi Arabia GP - in pictures

Pollock has said all areas of the team will be split equally so that should mean he is aiming to have one female Grand Prix driver as well.

He admitted it could cost around $1 billion to break into the world’s fastest – and most expensive – sport.

“We are in intense discussions with, I would just say, a Gulf area country,” said Pollock.

“I'm not really in the position to talk about that and be fully open about it at this present time – that will come out in the very near future.

“And I just hope it's going to work because ... it does take a lot of money.”

With races already being staged regularly in Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, there are plenty of candidates.

Most of the grid are based in the UK (including the US and French teams) around F1 circuit Silverstone. But two others are in Italy and a third in Switzerland.

But having a base in the Gulf makes sense for an increasingly global sport with races from Australia, Japan, China to the US, Brazil and Mexico.

Over the years, Gulf investment, sponsorship and ownership in the sport has stretched to billions, including the involvement of Mubadala’s stake in Ferrari, as well as TAG, Aabar, Mumtalakat, the Bahrain sovereign wealth fund and many others.

Abu Dhabi’s artificial intelligence company G42 teamed up with Mercedes only last month.

Updated: March 28, 2023, 6:50 PM