F1 grid, Silverstone, 2019

New F1 team Panthera seeking to join grid in 2021

2021 F1 season

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A new Formula 1 team is looking to join the grid in time for the 2021 season, RaceFans can reveal.

Panthera Team Asia F1 is operating out of a temporary headquarters near the Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire, a source familiar with the project told RaceFans.

Benjamin Durand, who was previously managing director of SMP Racing and BR Engineering during their spell in the World Endurance Championship, is one of the team’s co-founders.

Panthera has filled several senior positions including technical director and sporting director, though some of its staff are seeing out contracts with other teams. Its head of aerodynamics is Tim Milne, who has previous F1 experience from his time at Renault, Honda, Super Aguri, Toyota, Caterham and most recently Manor. The last F1 car he worked on was the unfinished Manor for the 2017 season, before the team collapsed.

The team faces an immediate obstacle in that the technical regulations for the 2021 season are unlikely to be confirmed until the end of October. It is making what progress it can with its preparations until then.

Panthera is believed to have struck preliminary deals with major component suppliers. RaceFans understands the team intends to follow the ‘Haas model’ of obtaining as many parts as it can through third party suppliers. However it remains to be seen how far this will be possible under the new 2021 rules which will redefine this contentious area of the regulations.

The new team has not yet formally approached the FIA to lodge an entry. The sport’s governing body has not issued an invitation for new teams to participate in the 2021. It is expected to open a tender once the 2021 regulations are published.

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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52 comments on “New F1 team Panthera seeking to join grid in 2021”

  1. Great scoop! Let’s see how much more we learn about this!

  2. Very interesting indeed…

  3. Any word/rumour/speculation as to the PU supplier? Honda and Renault are both at two apiece currently…

    Let’s hope they join, and that no other team bows out in the interim.

    1. If it is between Honda and Renault it feels like Honda is the best option at the moment

      1. Haha yeah, FOM can’t do that to them: give them Renault’s and doom before they even started their first race…

    2. Team founders are both French, so could be a Renault B-team.

      1. That would imply that there will be an “A Team”.

        1. @rekibsn – they’re called McLaren

          1. Thought that was the “Z” team.
            As they say, best way to get a small team is buy a BIG team and wait. Might not have to wait too long.
            End of season sales are just around the corner.

    3. @phylyp In Renault’s case; Realistically one, though to be precise. One customer-team I mean. The factory/works outfit doesn’t really count.

      Mercedes supplies two teams (RacingPoint and Williams) in F1 at present, and the same with Ferrari (Alfa Romeo/Haas), and Honda (the two Red Bull-owned teams), while Renault only supplies Mclaren. If this Panthera-entry indeed were to join F1, then I hope it’d be either Mercedes or Honda-powered.

      1. @jerejj – good distinction

      2. Renault is hardly capable of supplying two teams . Still massive problems with the factory and quality control.
        So i do not think they want to supply.
        The extra info Merc and Ferrari collect by running six engines is a great advantage. Even Honda acknowledged the extra info by the two Red Bull teams is important for the development .

        1. Whoever their pu supplier will be I would think it is safe to say Panthera has already had conversations with them, if we’re now at the point of their potential entry being made public. I’m suspecting it’s Honda, but of course have nothing to support that other than a hunch.

  4. They should totally drop the H and be team Pantera, the most metal F1 team ever.

    1. De Tomaso may have an issue with that…

      1. @geemac, exactly – not only is there the fact that the current owner of the De Tomaso brand is reviving the marque, De Tomaso has previously participated in Formula 1. Using the same name as one of De Tomaso’s former cars to enter a team in Formula 1 would therefore likely cause problems…

    2. Seconded 🤘

    3. But dropping the H would put them into trash…

      1. Or by keeping the H and they’re no more than a wheelchair producer from Sweden, which doesn’t sound good.. But their carbon fibre one isn’t bad.. Neither is the U3 Light I’ve got

        1. Next new technical&commercial partner found @meko1971? They clearly share a goal of being winners by going light!

          1. Well, you never know.. See if I can link it here..
            http://www.panthera.se/en/produkt_x.html

    4. Team Pantera: A Vulgair Display Of (Honda?) Power 🤘

      1. Suffering Williams Fan
        23rd August 2019, 22:51

        Here’s hoping they don’t get Slaughtered; it’d be a shame to see them Walk.

  5. So FE has Techeetah and F1 will have Panthera? Lol. They got to nick the BWT sponsors off Racing Point to become the Pink Pantheras! Guess they got a choice of Renault or Honda PU’s. Kinda hope for a third Honda team tbh.

    1. @rocketpanda Not necessarily only between Renault and Honda on the PU-side. It could equally become a third Mercedes or Ferrari PU-customer. I hope this Panthera-entry if it indeed were to join F1, would be either Mercedes or Honda-powered.

      1. I thought they could only have three? Mercedes have themselves, Racing Point & Williams and Ferrari have themselves, Alfa-Sauber and Haas. Only Honda & Renault have two teams so aren’t they the only options? Or has the ‘three team’ rule been ditched?

        1. @rocketpanda The factory/works outfit doesn’t really count, so realistically, Mercedes and Ferrari have two teams. Two customer-teams I mean, and the same with Honda, while Renault only supplies Mclaren. Mercedes had three customers in 2014, ’15, and ’16, so on that front, another one besides RP and Williams could now be Mercedes-powered, but since this is about 2021, not the current nor the next season, things could be quite different by then. Mercedes mightn’t even be in F1 anymore by then, beyond the 2020 Abu Dhabi GP.

        2. Lenny (@leonardodicappucino)
          23rd August 2019, 21:35

          @rocketpanda I believe they can supply as many as they want, but in previous times, especially with the Red Bull and Renault saga, it was at too short notice for Merc/Ferrari to scale up to building more engines. But with more than a year, instead of 5 months or so, it would easily be possible for Ferrari or Mercedes to supply them with engines.

  6. So this is out then. Details to follow in the following months, I presume

  7. I think Red Bull is not willing to sell its rear end ( no jokes please!) to another team. Toto Rosso is already getting the full set due to the sinergies.

    Maybe Renault could sell It, but mostly I think Mercedes may do It If they decide to leave F1 as chassis builders.

    If they win again in 2020, I believe there will be no point on risking the impecable reputation.

    They could stay as aggregate suppliers (gearbox/rear suspension/Power unit) and the silver arrows once more could vanish from F1. And reappear in FE?

    1. @Only Facts! All valid possibilities.

    2. Assuming this year’s Williams car is an aberration and that next year’s car is substantially better, maybe Williams will be willing to supply them “parts”. After all, that could lighten the cashflow problems. I know Williams don’t approve of the Haas model … but when someone with a suitcase of cash comes knocking on the factory manager’s door, maybe it’s worth revisiting that policy.

  8. Team Panthera?
    Really? Not Super Lightning?
    Not Ultimate Speed?
    Not Super Duper Racing?

    Strange.

    I believe they might say they have plans to enter F1, but I don’t believe they have crazy billionaire, ready to flush a billion (as noted in another Article here on RaceFans).

  9. So, who would they partner with? Haas success heavily depends on Ferrari’s ‘last years’ car. Since Ferrari is a strong team, the Haas has always been midfield worthy. Red Bull already has it’s satellite team, so the only team left for this concept is Mercedes. Renault could be an option, but their parts aren’t exactly good enough to take to the following season.

    However, with 2021 having entire new rules, I think we’re gonna see Haas struggle a lot that year. If Panthera would join, they’re in the same boat. I’d advice them to join in 2022, preferably partnering with Mercedes.

    1. Haas uses currently Ferrari technology mixed with own parts where required.

      1. @dieterrencken What I mean is that the Haas always seems based on the Ferrari of the previous season. With new regulations, parts aren’t always exchangable, but since they stepped in, they were always able to base their car on ‘last years Ferrari (even in 2017). Chassis, wings, nose, small aero and suspension were almost always visibly the same-ish. In 2021, that’s gonna be hard for Haas to buy from Ferrari, they’re gonna need to develop something on their own due to the massive rule overhaul. My guess is that will hurt the teams performance, especially early season.

        If Panthera joins in 2021, they come in F1 with not much experience and not much ‘old tech’ that they can buy. So it’s either gonna be developing on their own (which is as a new team very hard), or a crazy expensive deal with Mercedes, Renault or perhaps McLaren. Williams could be looking for a partner, but their tech hasn’t recently proven, well, up to par.

        Wouldn’t joining in 2022 make much more sense? Seems much more ideal for the ‘Haas route’.

        1. So the Haas car is not actually based on the Ferrari either this season or last, the Chassis, Front wing, Rear wing, Bargeboards and Floor are designed and built by Dallara, Haas buy as much as they are allowed to from Ferrari which includes engine, gearbox and all ancillary parts the actual aero parts of the car have nothing to do with Ferrari

  10. Sounds good to me.
    Any new teams joining shows that there is interest in F1 and if they do well it might urge others to join.

    Who knows – even Alfa Romeo may design a car … or an engine … or a water bottle …….. ;)

    1. @phylyp
      But theres no interest at all in teams building their own cars which is very bad.

      1. @rethla – yeah, that’s a shame.

        The relative success of Haas compared to Manor, Caterham, etc. seems to have struck a note with potential entrants.

  11. Let’s hope they pick a sponsor that actually has a legitimate business…

  12. If they don’t have a Thundercats themed livery, they’re doing it wrong.

    1. LoL I was thinking the same thing :-) Though Cheetara might be an even better looking car :-)

      Where the money behind this team??? Thats what I need to know to tell how real this is…

      1. I’d say the thundercats were pretty well-off considering the amount of times they’ve saved the planet..

  13. A new Formula 1 team is looking to join the grid in time for the 2021 season

    I hope Liberty Media sort out that disgraceful “two years and no pay” rule. I don’t know where it came from but it’s appalling. Every performer at an event is paid, the same rule should apply in F1.

    1. I believe that came from Bernie who wanted to stop no-hopers like Life and Andrea Moda from joining F1.

  14. Lenny (@leonardodicappucino)
    23rd August 2019, 22:03

    There’s really five possible teams that they could go to for non-listed parts: Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari, Renault, or McLaren. However, I think only Red Bull and Renault are plausible. Mercedes simply has nothing to gain from it. They have two customer teams already, both of which have shown to be reasonably willing to give a seat to a junior driver. They also don’t seem to have any ties to Asia, and this being an Asian team I don’t see it happening unless Källenius has decided they need a big boost in Asia. Ferrari already has Haas doing the “Haas-model” so another team doing the same is unlikely, plus they cut ties with Ye Yifei at the end of last year, which they probably wouldn’t have done if they were very keen on expanding into Asia. McLaren is already going to spread itself thin with a new IndyCar program next year, and sending parts to another team is just going to spread them thinner. So, then it comes down to Red Bull-Honda and Renault. Red Bull has obvious ties to Asia through Honda. There are also obvious possibilities for drivers, with the likes of Yuki Tsunoda in the Junior Team and Nirei Fukuzumi doing well for Honda-powered Dandelion Racing in Super Formula after a tough year in F2. However, what’s counting against Red Bull is that they already have a second team, and are having issues filling those seats. Finally, and probably most likely: Renault. Renault have struggled with young drivers because they do not have a B-team, and have been consistently increasing the number of drivers in their junior program since their return to F1. Furthermore, they have Asia’s most promising F1 prospect, Guanyu Zhou (top rookie in F2 by 30 points), in their Academy, alongside Ye Yifei. An Asian team could buy engines and parts from Renault, possibly at low or no cost if they take on Zhou and with Nissan-badged engines and sponsorship, as Renault owns a controlling stake in Nissan.

  15. This project surely can walk, if you know what I mean.

  16. Interesting news. Great scoop.

  17. Fingers crossed it happens. Maybe one day we can get back to a 26 car grid.

  18. Drop the second A from ‘Panthera’ and you’ve got yourself either the old IndyCar team or the knock off version of Red Bull in Motorsport Manager.

  19. I’m reading the reddit thread and it seems this could have some ex-smp wec people behind it. Probably not an smp effort. Just ex-smp people. Maybe sirotkin can use this to get back into f1.

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