Panthera Team Asia still aiming to enter F1 in 2022

ยฉ XPB 

Panthera Team Asia Formula 1 made a few headlines last year with its stated plans of joining the F1 grid in the future, and the new team hopes to achieve its aim for 2022.

Panthera's plans - headed by Benjamin Durand, who managed Russian billionaire Boris Rotenberg's SMP Racing outfit in the WEC from 2013 to 2016 - initially projected an entry into Grand Prix racing in 2021 on the back of the sport's regulation overhaul.

The one-year rule delay imposed by F1 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and its financial impact on F1 hasn't deterred Panthera which has also pushed back its planned entry by a year.

"It has been quite a rollercoaster, but we are still alive - the project is not done," Durand told Motorsport.com.

"We were already aiming for 2022 before the current crisis hit and we are still looking for a way in.

"We have had a group of people working on the car, doing some preliminary work on the aero side, and continue to work with investors."

Durand hasn't offered any insight into a potential engine supply deal with a manufacture, an obviously vital component of his team's F1 aspirations, nor has F1 confirmed any formal talks with the Asian-backed effort.

In Singapour last year, FIA president Jean Todt was queried on Panthera's prospects but admitted he had yet to receive a clear indication of the project's viability.

"I will be careful," said Todt at the time. "I donโ€™t consider talks or gossip or things like that. I am concrete.

"At the moment I never heard, apart from some website talking about new teams, I never had any strong contact from a relevant solid team wishing to join F1."

The last new team to join F1 was Haas in 2016. While there has been interest and various requests for information in the past few years, no candidate meeting the relevant criteria has stepped up to the plate.

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