Stefan Grand Prix was a proposed Serbian Formula One team named after its creator, Zoran Stefanović. The team was attempting to compete in the 2010 Formula One season. Its initial application was one of those rejected in July 2009 and although the team persisted in its attempts to gain an entry, it did not appear on the final entry list published in March 2010. The team also applied unsuccessfully to compete in the 2011 and 2015 seasons.
Stefan Grand Prix, was founded by Serbian-born engineer and businessman Zoran Stefanović, with hopes of becoming Serbia’s first Formula One team. Stefanović and Stefan Grand Prix had attempted to enter Formula One on two previous occasions; once in 1996 and again one year later with an attempt to purchase the remains of Lola’s abortive 1997 entry.
In 2009, Formula One’s governing body, the FIA, opened applications for new teams to join the 2010 grid. Applications from fifteen new teams were received, with three (Campos Meta (later to be renamed Hispania Racing), Manor Grand Prix (later to be renamed Virgin Racing) and Team USF1) being selected in July 2009 to join the existing ten teams for 2010. Stefan GP was one of the unsuccessful applicants.
The Formula One community was first made aware of Stefanović’s ambitions after he filed a complaint with the European Commission, of a similar nature to one submitted by N.Technology. Stefanović claimed that the entry selection process had been biased in favour of teams who had nominated to run the Cosworth engines that were being introduced for 2010. He claimed that the FIA had not simply shown bias against non-Cosworth teams, but also against teams which would be classified as manufacturers, citing that new teams Virgin Racing, Campos and USF1 had planned to outsource the design of their chassis to other firms and design studios, whereas Stefan Grand Prix had the support of Serbian company AMCO, and thus could build its own cars independently. This bias, he claimed, was supported by Prodrive’s failure to make the grid; like Stefan, Prodrive would have the facilities to build its own chassis. Stefanović also had the support of Mike Coughlan, the disgracedMcLaren engineer. The team has released photographs showing Coughlan in its offices.
In November 2009, Toyota officially backed out of the championship, following a manufacturer exodus led by Honda and BMW. Despite initial plans not to sell the team on, Stefanović acquired the rights to use the team’s chassis, gearbox and the 2010 spec engine. It also employed several former Toyota team members, then out of work after being made redundant by Toyota. With the vacancy left by Toyota, the FIA moved to fill the thirteenth and final grid position, which was contested between Stefanović and Peter Sauber, after BMW sold the team back to him. Sauber was eventually accepted to the grid. Stefanović was later reported as pursuing a 2010 grid position despite the thirteenth grid position having been awarded to Sauber.