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Diniz drops driving duties to become shareholder in Prost Grand Prix

PEDRO DINIZ has decided to withdraw from Formula One racing as a driver - but will remain in the sport as a significant shareholder in the Prost Grand Prix team.

Diniz, who competed for Sauber this year, will take an active role in the management of the Guyancourt-based team with paddock observers believing that the Brazilian paid close to $10 million (US Dollars) for a 40 per cent stake.

"The alliance of Prost Grand Prix with Pedro Diniz is excellent news for the team," said chairman Alain Prost. "It widens our strategy which becomes truly international.

"I am delighted because I have found in Pedro Diniz and his family not only a solid business partner for my team but also a great group of people and friends. Pedro and his father Abilio share my views and ambitions for the future.

"In the short term, these new funds will be aimed at increasing out budget."

Diniz, whose father owns the second largest supermarket chain in Brazil - Grupo Pao de Acucar, turned down the chance of a seat alongside Jean Alesi with Prost and said his future lies at the helm of the team.

"Alain gave me the option of driving for Prost next year," Diniz said. "It was a hard decision to make because I am a driver and I love racing.

"I also believe that with the new engine and the strong technical package being put in place, the team will be much more competitive in 2001.

"Since we have made a big investment in Prost Grand Prix, I have to think about long-term plans for my future and commit entirely to the success of the team.

"I will concentrate on learning all aspects of the sport and I think my six years in it will prove very useful to the progress of Prost. I believe in Alain and in the team and I see my future there."

Prost will remain as the main shareholder of the team.

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