JANUARY 24, 2002
Prost is still in business
THERE is a delay in the decision but that means that Prost Grand Prix is still in business. The court in Versailles says that it has received several similar proposals for partnerships in Prost. All of these seem to be structured in the same basic way with Alain Prost giving up equity to gain immediate funding to pay off the debts. Although no choice has been made by the court, which has asked for more information and guarantees to ensure the long-term future of the operation, it is clear that the decision is likely to be positive when it is finally announced on January 28.
The court did however remind Prost that if the guarantees demanded were not good enough then the team would be liquidated.
The effects of the decision are going to be felt first in the driver market with the resolution of the final seats for the F1 entry this year. If Prost survives Heinz-Harald Frentzen will stay. Jos Verstappen will thus stay at Arrows and so Minardi will have room for Mark Webber. This will leave only the second Prost seat up for grabs. Alain Prost has hinted that this might go to a Frenchman but it really depends on who buys into the team. If, for example, the team is taken over by, let us say, Flavio Briatore, it is safe to assume that he will want one of his drivers in the seat. Thus Webber could go to Prost and then Minardi would have to make a different choice.
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