March 6, 2010

Stefan GP: Update to the Update

More F1 comedy: recently the German magazine Express had investigated the background of Stefan GP's organization. As reported by F1Technical this is what they found:

"...Recent uncovered details about the parent company of Stefan GP have revealed just why the FIA may have denied the team a grid slot for 2010. With its financial detail unveiled and dubious claims unraveled, the business looks like a fraud, rather than an F1 team owner.
Zoran Stefanovic, the team's owner and apparent investor, owns a Serbian engineering company named AMCO. Before supporting Stefanovic's Formula One foray Stefan GP, Cologne based Toyota Motorsport was told AMCO was involved with space and military technology.
Continue reading after the jump

AMCO claimed it worked with Germany's Federal Defence Force (Bundeswehr) on flight drones and contributed to the European Space Agency's orbit launch rocket Ariane 5. In fact web pages were set up to popularise this belief.

"After consulting with the system manufacturers of the drones KZO and LUNA we can confirm that in the Bundeswehr product there are no technologies of the Serbian company AMCO," said a spokesman of the German defence department Bundesamtes fur Wehrtechnik und Beschaffung to Express.

Furthermore, the financial situation of AMCO also came to light by consulting the Serbian company registry. It appears there that AMCO Corporation is a limited liability company, founded on 14/03/2008 with a capital of 500 euros (80% for Zoran Stefanovic and 20% for Vuk Stefanovic).

Going further, the company that totals one single employee, realised 3315 Euro in 2009 and a net result of 42.7 Euro.

Considering these claims, it may come to no surprise why Stefan GP was not allowed an entry into 2010."...

Just a day later an Update is issued:

"UPDATE: In response to this report, AMCO has replied us with a letter, saying "The German newspapers Express published an article that is not founded on facts but on speculation and bad translation.

The AMCO Corporation never stated anywhere that "it cooperated with the German Federal Defense Forces (Bundeswehr) on a production of an unmanned aircraft”. The correct information is that one of our engineers was involved in a construction of an engine for a German company, the buyer, which turned out to be for an unmanned aircraft. We never stated nor did we ever imply that we worked with Bundeswehr in any form or way. Furthermore we have no idea how we were brought in context with the other German companies with whom we had no contacts at all. Illustration about capabilities of our personnel in Serbia was misunderstood and maliciously used for sensationalist journalism. Such construction of facts can only be aimed to discredit us and all the others mentioned."

"On the other hand, our people should be recognized for producing parts for the ARIANE V rocket, seven years ago by our company in Serbia. We are very proud of this fact."

I took a look at today and found the Retort to the Update (google translated):

"...The business environment of the supposed savior Toyota Zoran Stefanovic is always dubious.
Only his Serbian company AMCO had omitted the claim to have developed the engine for army drones. Now unveiled EXPRESS: AMCO builds no parts for European space rocket Ariane 5, as claimed on the website.
In the European community company Arianespace one is shocked. Spokesman Mario Delepine to EXPRESS: "After careful review of all supplier lists, we can not establish any link our organization with the Serbian company AMCO. She has neither anything to do with the success of Ariane 5 project, nor generally with us as the world leader in the field of launch service providers. "
His colleague, Dr Franz-Josef Spaunhorst indicates a plea: "People will take the appropriate measures to prevent such claims." Stefanovic says Himself in the case of the Bundeswehr-drone of "misunderstandings" and "apologized". No consolation for the many ex-Toyota employees who had believed in his Formula 1 project."

Oops. Now, the question I and others have: this cannot have been hard to figure out, why has the FIA and Formula 1 waited so long to clear the air and call out both USF1 and Stefan as the obvious frauds they are/were? Maybe less teams means more money for the big ones and less tail-enders to subsidize?

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