MARCH 3, 2002
Practical problems for Phoenix Finance
FORGETTING the legal and political issues involved in the takeover of Prost Grand Prix assets, the Phoenix Finance Ltd. F1 team is going to have a series of virtually insurmountable problems in the weeks ahead if it is to stay alive.
Getting the equipment together is also going to be interesting as well. For a start the Arrows Engine company ceased trading on May 5, 2000 and around $4.8m was written off. The company then said it was negotiating to sell its assets to clear outstanding liabilities. It is therefore not clear who is now the owner of the engines or whether they will now be purchased by Phoenix. Sticking these old V10s into the old Prost chassis in the course of a few weeks will not be easy but that is nothing compared to the problem of designing and building a gearbox and rear suspension in the time available. The new team cannot use Arrows parts unless the other teams all agree and the Prost gearbox was designed for the Ferrari V10 engine and so would have to be botched to mate with the Arrows V10.
There is also a question of tires.
"We have programmed our production for the year and we have no capacity to add an extra team at this late stage," said Michelin's Andy Pope.
"We do not have the engineers or the production facilities to support another team," said Bridgestone's Taka Horio.
Thus in order to run the new team will have to find a new tire supplier.
Phoenix must appear in Malaysia because otherwise it will miss two consecutive races and the entry will be null and void.
It is not yet clear who will be the lucky man to have unscramble all these problems but it is perhaps significant that veteran TWR team manager Andy Morrison, should unexpectedly turn up in Melbourne.
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