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FEBRUARY 10, 2002

Pollock Grand Prix

THERE is no doubt that Craig Pollock was less than happy when he was ousted from his role at British American Racing. Having started out in F1 looking considerably out of his depth, Pollock learned from mistakes along the way and by the end of last year was looking like a sensible team owner. Pollock knows that he can do the job if given the chance again and is now actively looking for ways to get back into F1. This is not a good time to be doing that but there is no doubt that Pollock's connections in the United States could prove to be very useful as F1 gets more of a profile in the USA.

The current rumors suggest that Pollock is trying to do a deal with General Motors. This is a logical thing to attempt as GM and Volkswagen are currently the only two big manufacturers not actively involved in the sport. Whether he will be successful is quite another matter. GM is currently running a Cadillac program in the Le Mans 24 Hours and hopes to be in a position to challenge for victory either this year or in 2003. After that there is no indication what the US giant will do but if it was thinking of F1 it would be a good time to start the planning process.

GM owns 20% of Fiat Auto and an option to buy the company outright if the Agnelli Family decide to sell it between 2003 and 2009. The Agnellis control 30% of Fiat Auto through various holding companies while also controlling Ferrari. Access to the right kind of technology would not therefore be difficult.

General Motors has kept a close eye on Formula 1 since the company came close to building an engine in the late 1980s. The head of the company's motorsport division Herb Fishel says that he wants to see the company competing against Mercedes-Benz and BMW both on and off the track but in July 1999 the company rejected a proposal to enter F1 and has since been working on the Le Mans program.

Fishel says that in order to enter F1 GM would need a 10-year guarantee of stability in the regulations.

It is unlikely that there will be any decisions in the short term but this will may not stop Pollock trying to buy the assets of Prost Grand Prix. If that is to happen something needs to be done immediately as Prost becomes liable for considerable fines if the team starts to miss races. The team has, however, entered the World Championship and so in theory could still turn up in Melbourne. The problem now is that the staff of Prost GP is breaking up and constituting a new team in a matter of days would be almost impossible.