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F1 2023

South east Asian-based F1 team to launch entry bid

The new entrant hopes to be on the grid for 2025 or 2026 having obtained investment from America and Asia.

Qualifying Azerbijan GP 2023 Friday Alpine Haas Mercedes
To news overview © XPBimages

A new "youth culture-focused" motorsport team is to apply for entry to the Formula 1 World Championship, from as early as 2025, with links to America and south east Asia.

LKY SUNZ has gained investment from a US-based sports fund as well as private investment from individuals and corporate entities from Asia in a bid to join Grand Prix racing under the FIA's 'Expression of Interest' process which opened to prospective new teams in January.

The name refers to an abbreviation for 'Lucky' and the Sun, which rises in the east and is prominent in multiple flags of Asian countries.

The team are hoping to be based in a brand-new factory in south east Asia, with cars initially being built at a European base.

It will be run by co-founder Benjamin Durand, a motorsport veteran with experience in sportscars and who was co-founder of the Panthera Asia F1 Team bid.

Durand's co-founders were also heavily involved in the Panthera bid, with chairman Paul Fleming and Andrew Pyrah both occupying senior roles in the long-standing effort to get the team onto the grid.

The current deadline for Expression of Interest proposals to be submitted to the FIA has slipped to May 15th, with a deadline of June 30th in place for formal bids to be submitted to F1's governing body.

Team to focus on grassroot communities

If successful in their bid to join F1, LKY SUNZ, hope to forge close links with inner city communities across the globe from North America, Asia as well as Africa "to provide underrepresented communities with opportunities in motorsports."

Durand explained that he hoped the team would be able to "bring a diversity of thought yet to be been in Formula 1" to the grid should they be granted a slot.

"We are excited to see our investors share our vision of fusing youth culture and racing to create a team that will disrupt Formula 1," said Durand.

"The sport's popularity has grown exponentially and every current stakeholder in the sport has been responsible for that, but our guiding principle is to bring something different into the sport to appeal to new audiences.

"By being the only team operating outside the traditional F1 corridors and developing bespoke programmes to attract talent from underrepresented communities, we can bring a diversity of thought yet to be seen in Formula One.

"We of course aim to be competitive on the track but we also commit to entertaining fans off the track.

"To support our plans, we have already onboarded an impressive team of motorsport executives, music and entertainment industry experts and creatives who will help bring this vision to life."

			© LKY SUNZ F1 Team
	© LKY SUNZ F1 Team

Latest prospective entrant in process

When FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem opened the EoI process in January, Andretti immediately made their long-held ambitions of an F1 entry clear by announcing a venture with General Motors and Cadillac for a slot.

RacingNews365 revealed the hopes of a Craig Pollock-backed project, dubbed 'Formula Equal' with backing from a Gulf-area nation, believed to be Saudi Arabia.

When RacingNews365 approached the President of the Saudi Motorsport Federation during the recent Grand Prix weekend in Jeddah, Prince Khalid stopped short of confirming involvement in the project, saying "it is to early to go into those kind of details."

There is also a British based team, working under the H26 banner, with RacingNews365 understanding this a team headed up by Oliver Oakes and the HiTech squad.

It is understood from sources that the 'H26' team are already testing in the former Mercedes wind-tunnel and other facilities from the eight-time champions' engineering division.

'H26' has been focusing on testing 2022/23 car models to validate data ahead of the release of the 2026 regulations, which are due for release in June 2024, as per the FIA's International Sporting Code.

Also interesting:

Balve Bains is joined by RacingNews365.com Editorial Director Dieter Rencken and Asia Correspondent Michael Butterworth to dissect the key talking points from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

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