Serbian Formula 1 aspirant Stefan Grand Prix remains optimistic that it will be allowed to race in this year's World Championship, even though it has yet to gain an entry with the season opener less than three weeks away.
Stefan is hoping to pick up an entry if one of the teams committed to F1 in 2010 drops out – with continuing uncertainty over US F1's situation in particular – or if there is a last-minute agreement to expand the field to 28 cars. Team boss Zoran Stefanovic acknowledged that time was running out for Stefan, but is still hopeful.
"Definitely, we are waiting for something to happen because the time is very short and the deadline for Bahrain is approaching," he told Reuters. "If you are going to Bahrain, you have to be packed by next Wednesday and we think we will be able to reach something by then."
He said the team would be ready to enter the championship late if required, but preferred to start in Bahrain.
"Technically, it's possible [to join later] but we are going to be in Bahrain," said Stefanovic. "We are not saying it's for sure, but we are looking forward to it."
Stefan had to abandon plans for a four-day test at Portimao this week as Bridgestone would only make tires available to teams with F1 entries, but Stefanovic is optimistic that this situation can also be resolved.
"We believe the FIA has to release the proper tires to us for safety reasons," he said. "We expect it to happen and we have very good faith that it is going to happen."
He said Stefan GP's F1 bid was favored by the sport's commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone.
"I think Bernie supports everyone and I think he supports us because we are pushing for it. We are working, not talking," Stefanovic said. "The impact will be huge and a lot of people in Serbia don't realize that yet. The positive image of Serbia being a part of Formula 1 is something any country would wish for, so it's a plus one way or another. Also, it's a huge opportunity to get into high-tech business."
Stefan GP is using the car that Toyota had prepared for the 2010 season before it decided to withdraw from F1, and is using part of Toyota's Cologne premises as its initial base. Stefanovic has previously said that former Williams driver Kazuki Nakajima has already been signed, and that 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve was also close to a deal with his team.