DECEMBER 21, 2001
What chance now for Prost Grand Prix?
THE writing is on the wall at Guyancourt and Alain Prost is clearly worried. The stories of several bids being made for his team seem to have been little more than dreams and Prost is now facing a situation in which the team will be liquidated if he does not come up with a new investor by January 14.
The team has debts of around $30m and an insufficient budget for the 2002 season. The projects which were offered to Prost did not impress the administrator and now Alain Prost faces Christmas trying to find a new investor. And that is going to be tough. Anyone with a desire to get into F1 will probably now wait until the team is closed and then buy up the assets as it will be a cheaper way of getting a new project under way.
We have heard whispers of various plans still being hatched, including the oft-repeated idea that Team Lotus might be revived. It is also possible that having been ousted at British American Racing Craig Pollock might try to get back into the sport but as he was unable to raise the budget to stay at BAR, it is unlikely that he has the support to start a new team and it is not very likely that he will risk his own personal fortune. However Pollock has had contact with venture capitalists in the past and so a bid should not be rejected out of hand. One story we heard is that Pollock might be linked to a revival of Team Lotus but there is little evidence to back this up at the moment.
One thing that is certain is that there will be no takeover from Prince Al-Waleed. Alain Prost said that this project foundered after the September 11 attacks.
There is little comfort therefore for the Prost employees as Alain himself says that he made a mistake locating the team in France where the employment laws of lack of support for F1 have made life difficult for him.
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