Rodin Cars’ F1 team bid rejected, would’ve hired a female driver | Top Gear
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Rodin Cars’ F1 team bid rejected, would’ve hired a female driver

New Zealand carmaker confirms its bid to join F1 has been denied, despite billionaire funding and plans to run a female driver

Published: 28 Sep 2023

Rodin Cars - the New Zealand-based, single-seater track car maker and owner of junior motorsport outfit Carlin - has confirmed that its application to start an F1 team has been rejected.

The FIA had called for potential new F1 teams to step forward in January, and a joint Andretti-Cadillac bid was the first to go public just two days later.

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Rodin was one of three other entities to join the formal bidding process with less fanfare, but reports suggest only Andretti has reached the final stage and while we’ve heard nothing formal just yet, even Rodin admits the Americans’ joint pitch will be “the only successful applicant”.

However, it seems Rodin is a bit narked at being told ‘thanks, but no thanks’. In a statement penned by billionaire founder David Dicker, it points out several key areas where it thinks it had the edge over Andretti’s proposal.

These include its ‘state-of-the-art facility in New Zealand’, the fact that it’s a car manufacturer, its ownership of Carlin and therefore ability to prepare drivers in the likes of Formula 3 and Formula 2, potential talks over a ‘collaboration’ with Ferrari (you’d think regarding an engine), and adequate funding thanks to its owner's deep pockets.

Rodin also says it would’ve ‘guaranteed’ a female driver on the grid. It claims to have tested Liam Lawson (AlphaTauri’s current super sub for the injured Daniel Ricciardo), Jamie Chadwick and British F4 driver Louis Sharp in an F3 car and its own F2-beating, V8-engined FZed single seater (pictured). “Jamie performed exceptionally well, and if she was available, we would have no hesitation in putting her in a seat.” Wow.

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“Rodin Cars participated in the recent FIA process aimed at gaining entry into the prestigious Formula 1 World Championship,” said Dicker. “Unfortunately, our bid was not successful. This statement is intended to provide insight into the key points of our bid that we believe justified its merit.

“We wish to emphasise that our objective here is not to criticise the FIA or seek a reconsideration of its decision. We fully respect and accept the outcome. Our sole purpose is to release information we consider in the public interest to inform the Formula 1 community.

“We appreciate the opportunity to have participated in the FIA process and extend our best wishes to Andretti for their successful bid. Rodin Cars remains committed to pushing the boundaries of motorsport and will continue to pursue excellence in the world of racing.”

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Should F1 and the FIA be more open to smaller entries like Rodin’s, even if they seem a little riskier?

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