MARCH 21, 2002
Peugeot making the same mistake twice?
THERE are stories in the French media suggesting that Peugeot Sport may want to make a comeback in Formula 1 within the next few years. Peugeot's efforts in F1 were disastrous between 1994 and 2000 and the company eventually gave up and went back to the World Rally Championship and has now won that title for two consecutive seasons. Peugeot is expected to stay in rallying for another year or two but will then step aside and make way for sister company Citroen to do the winning. The suggestion that Peugeot might return to F1 cannot be rejected completely but the belief within Peugeot that the problem was with its partners is not really a credible argument. McLaren realized very quickly that the company was not going to win in F1 because of the way in which it was operated. Jordan found the same problem and Prost too complained that the people at Peugeot just did not understand what winning in F1 takes. When Peugeot sold the engine program to Asiatech the new management said that the problem was not one of engineering talent but rather of corporate philosophy and most of the original Peugeot staff are still working with Asiatech at Velizy.
Corrado Provera, the head of Peugeot's sporting department, seems to think that if Peugeot set up its own team it would be successful in F1.
Well, they can try...
None of this is believed to have anything to do with the recent adventures of the Phoenix/D.A.R.T/Nickerson F1 team although conspiracy-seekers can obviously find connections. Peugeot has enough money to do its thing without having to get involved with an organization which does not appear to have anything much to offer. The FIA International Court of Appeal is expected to rule on Phoenix at some point in the future.
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