APRIL 23, 2002
Apax and David Richards
What is interesting about this is that Apax has strong links with motorsport, notably in the World Rally Championship where the company owns 49% of David Richards's Prodrive company. It was the money raised from that which enabled Richards to buy the commercial rights to the WRC.
Apax is not short of money as it runs more than 20 different investment funds worth more than $5bn.
The Prodrive company said in 1999 when the deal was first done that Prodrive was planning to be floated in between three to five years. Since then, of course, the economic climate has changed considerably but Prodrive may still take that step and use the money raised to buy into BAR. That would certainly be one option although Richards might also negotiate a deal for Apax to fund the purchase of BAR with the long-term goal being to float the team.
Richards has always said that taking Prodrive to F1 would have to involve a manufacturer, would have to be commercially viable and would have to be competitive in the short to mid-term.