MARCH 16, 2002
PHOENIX FINANCE LTD., the company at the center of the kerfuffle over the assets of Prost Grand Prix, officially changed its name two days ago to become DART Grand Prix Team Ltd. The name change has been registered at Companies House in London with the same address as Phoenix Finance Ltd.
The latest twist in the tale came the day before Phoenix Finance issued a press release to the F1 media in Malaysia, an odd move given that the organization had by then already changed its name - something which presumably the directors of the company must have known. The current wheeling and dealing has left most observers completely confused as to who is trying to do what to whom and why - although no doubt there are reasons for all this.
The name change came just two weeks after Phoenix Finance came into existence when a company called CN Europe Ltd. changed its name to Phoenix. This company can be traced back to December 1993 when it was set up as Nickerson Trading Ltd..
The most bizarre thing in all this is the fact that Tom Walkinshaw - the man who has been representing Phoenix's interests in recent days in F1 circles - used to have a company called DART in the early 1980s. That firm distributed Dunlop racing tires in Britain (the name standing for Dunlop Auto Racing Tires Ltd.).
Walkinshaw says that all he (and his TWR company) are doing is supplying engineering assistance to Phoenix (or whatever the company is called this week).
In the meantime the French liquidator Cosme Rogeau has announced plans to auction off the Prost Grand Prix assets in May. The F1 cars left over when Prost went into receivership will be auctioned on May 6 while the team's machinery, tools, furniture and computer equipment will be auctioned on May 15-16-17.
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