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Former Alpine F1 boss Budkowski behind A1 GP revival bid

Former Alpine Formula 1 team boss Marcin Budkowski is one of the key players behind an effort to revive the A1 Grand Prix nations format for a new championship.

Adam Carroll, driver of A1 Team Ireland

The organisation behind the initiative is called the World Cup of Motorsport and is using the A1 GP logo, although it's not yet clear whether that will be the definitive series name.

The original A1 GP ran for four seasons between 2005-2006 and 2008-2009 before its financial collapse led to the cancellation of its fifth campaign.

The series saw teams competing under the banner of countries with drivers of the same nationality.

For the first three years, a Zytek-powered Lola chassis was used and was then replaced by a Ferrari-supplied car and engine for the fourth season.

The new series is expected to run in a similar format, with 20 identical cars using sustainable fuel, and each nation's team featuring a combination of experienced and younger drivers. There will also be an "innovative race format", according to one source.

As revealed by Sky Business News and since confirmed by Motorsport.com, the man behind the latest initiative is entrepreneur Sir Keith Mills, who is best known for founding the UK's Nectar and Air Miles loyalty schemes.

Mills was also one of the men behind the successful delivery of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics as deputy chairman of the organising committee.

He is also heavily involved in sailing, having founded an America's Cup contender Team Origin in 2007 with Ben Ainslie as skipper. The programme was cancelled prior to the 2013 competition.

Nicolas Lapierre, A1 Team France

Nicolas Lapierre, A1 Team France

Photo by: Motorsport Images

In another sporting connection, Mills was also formerly a director of Tottenham Hotspur football club.

It's understood that Mills and his Origin Sports Group concern are trying to secure the backing to get the project off the ground.

Origin's website notes that the company is "an innovative sports investment business driving transformation and growth in the sports industry," adding that it aims "to identify investment opportunities with long-term growth potential, and match them to our network of capital partners looking to invest in sport."

As CEO of the World Cup of Motorsport Budkowski is the clear figurehead on the racing side and as such charged with putting together the sporting and technical package.

Budkowski started his career as an aerodynamicist at Prost GP in 2001 and subsequently moved up the ranks at Ferrari and McLaren, becoming head of aerodynamics at the latter in 2012.

Two years later he moved to the FIA where he served as F1 technical and sporting coordinator and later head of the F1 technical department.

However rather than pursue a career with the governing body in 2018 he switched to the Renault F1 team in the executive director role, initially working alongside then-team principal Cyril Abiteboul.

When Abiteboul left the Enstone camp, no clear team principal was named, although Budkowski in effect covered the role during the 2021 season.

He left the team in January 2022 following the transition to the Alpine name, and before the arrival of Otmar Szafnauer as the new team principal.

Veteran F1 technical director Mike Gascoyne is also involved in the project, suggesting that his MGI concern could be behind the car design.

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