British American Racing (BAR) founder and Jacques Villeneuve’s former manager Craig Pollock has confirmed he has submitted an expression of interest for a “50% male, 50% female” Formula 1 team named Formula Equal.
Pollock was already Villeneuve’s manager when he founded BAR and served as CEO and team principal for a spell, while he also attempted to return to F1 through his power unit company PURE ahead of the 2014 regulations being introduced. Now he has confirmed he has put together a proposal for a new team that would include an equal split of male and female employees in all roles, and has made his interest known to the FIA as part of the current open process for potential entrants.
“Our ambition to deliver and build opportunities and pathways for women to get to the very top level inside motorsports,” Pollock told CNN Sport. “The concept and the idea was to try and build a Formula 1 team, 50% male, 50% female, which is extremely hard to do if you have an existing Formula 1 team; it’s a lot easier with a clean sheet of paper.”
Pollock wants to see a female driver as part of the line-up – with new entrants permitted as early as 2025 but unlikely to be ready until at least a year later – but admits that could take time.
“We know that we are going to have to go through our academy systems. We know we’re going to have to build it up because there are not enough women at the moment who are trained up to the level of Formula 1 and they’ve got to earn a place in there at the same time,” he said.
When it comes to backing, Pollock is willing to state that the majority of the financing will come from “a Gulf area country”, with his comments coming after Saudi Arabia Motorsport Company chairman HRH Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal stated that “we want to have a Saudi team hopefully one day in the near future” during the Jeddah race weekend.
“We are in intense discussions with I would just say a Gulf area country … 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.
Describing his intention to set-up the “first Formula 1 team that is truly outside of Europe,” Pollock adds: “This has to be built from the bottom up in a Gulf state and this is what we are aiming to do. This is a long-term project – this is not short-term.”
The FIA’s window allowing prospective teams – including Andretti Cadillac – to submit an Expression of Interest remains open, with the potential for multiple teams to be admitted if they are approved by the governing body and F1.