MARCH 5, 2002
Phoenix returning to ashes?
DESPITE the plans being laid by Arrows F1 team boss Tom Walkinshaw there are still very serious doubts that the Phoenix Finance Ltd. bid to become a Grand Prix team will result in any cars appearing this year. And if no cars show up in Brazil the team will lose any rights it had (if it has any). It is of course possible for Phoenix to turn up with bits and pieces and inhabit a garage in Malaysia as the Concorde Agreement does not apparently insist that a team must actually go out and race. All that has to be done is to present cars for scrutineering. Phoenix might be planning to do that for all the remaining races this year but that would probably result in the FIA kicking the team out of F1 for bringing the sport into disrepute.
The federation took that step in 1992 when Andrea Moda Formula was turned away when it arrived for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
But before the Phoenix effort can fail it actually has to gain admittance to the F1 club and that is not going to happen.
"It is explicit in the Concorde Agreement that if a company goes into insolvency and it subsequently misses one event, then all its rights fall away," said McLaren boss Ron Dennis. "If someone attempted to circumvent that by creating a new
company, it is just that - a new company - and you can't transfer rights."
Minardi boss Paul Stoddart has already said that if the team goes ahead he will take legal action to stop it happening if the Concorde Agreement is not being respected.
The liquidator in Paris has stated that Phoenix Finance is a new team not Prost Grand Prix and so it is hard to see how Phoenix can argue otherwise.
To make matters more complicated Ferrari has confirmed that the team would not be using Ferrari engines in the back of the old Prost AP04s (the power unit for which the car was designed).
"We are not going to supply engines for a second customer team this year, whoever it is," Ferrari team boss Jean Todt said in Melbourne.
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