Palestinian team targets Formula Student in spite of red tape
A team of students from the Gaza Strip are hopeful their dream of competing in a recycled racing car at Silverstone won't be dashed by ooliticial red tape.
Autoblog reported recently on the Palestinian team from UN-run Khan Younis Training College that has built a racing car from old water pipes and an engine salvaged from a motorbike to compete in the Formula Student event on 14-17 July.
However, since then rumours have arisen that the team of engineering students has been denied entry to the UK with a Gaza TV News report claiming that the British Embassy in Amman, Jordan, had refused the team visas to enter the UK.
The channel quoted a source close to the students who said the visa denial had been made because there was no official financier for the team during its stay in the UK.
The source added that the students were shocked their visa applications had been denied, especially after the year-long battle they'd faced to get the car ready for the competition.
Formula Student entries are judged on design, cost and business presentation as well as their ability in sprint, skid-pan, acceleration and endurance challenges. Most teams have high-profile sponsors and students can usually look forward to a job in Formula 1.
A spokesman for UNRWA, which runs the school, was tight-lipped about the rumours when contacted by Autoblog, but was aware they were circulating online.
"We are working with the relevant British authorities to make sure that the necessary paperwork will be forthcoming and we are quietly confident that our team will make it to Silverstone," was all spokesman Chris Gunness was prepared to say.
Autoblog contacted the KYTC student team members via their Facebook page but they were also reluctant to comment. We can only assume this was through fear it could damage their dream of getting to Silverstone.
A spokesperson for the UK Border Agency refused to comment on the team's case too.
"Each case is considered on its own merits and against the relevant immigration rules," a Home Office spokeswoman told Autoblog, adding: "These rules are firm but fair and apply equally to all those who require a visa to come to the UK."