Honda website
Honda website

FEBRUARY 6, 2002

Buying the Prost design

A number of Formula 1 teams seem to have found themselves in difficulties because they decided not to copy the Sauber aerodynamic principles which were introduced in 2001. Several teams tried the ideas in the windtunnels but did not find any substantial gains but they are now beginning to worry that they are going to be left behind as other teams have gone down the Sauber route and are going faster.

It is reckoned that it will take a team three months and a great deal of effort to switch its cars to the Sauber suspension and aerodynamics, assuming that a design has been completed and all the necessary research and development has been done. In effect this means that a switch is impossible as it would take the best part of a season to complete the changeover.

However, the fact that Prost designed a car with the Sauber front end but then had to abandon operations might open the way for a rival team to buy the intellectual property rights to the design and adapt the design to fit whatever engine is being used. This may sound strange but it would not be the first time that a team has bought the design from another. In the 1950s Ferrari acquired the design of the Lancia F1 car and it became a very successful Ferrari racer. In modern times Reynard's F1 design of 1991 was used by several F1 teams in the years that followed.