NOVEMBER 20, 2004
Richards: Breaking up is (not) hard to do
David Richards will leave British American Racing with his head held high.
"I delivered what I said would take five years in only three, and you cannot look upon that as a down. It's very positive," he said. "The senior directors at BAT are over the moon. It is by mutual wish that I won't be around in 2005. You have to pick your moments, and this was the time. The Prodrive era is over, and I clearly have a lot of obligations to other people. I have often joked that one day you would see me walking off into the sunset. As far as I am concerned, the job we were engaged to do at BAR is done. I can look back with satisfaction. And if and when Jenson wins next year I will be very happy. I will be sitting at home with my feet up, enjoying a beer and celebrating.
"The arrival of Honda is clearly a very solid and positive sign for the team at a time of uncertainty around F1 and its future. For the team the Prodrive era is over. This is the era of the car manufacturer. I like to think that Prodrive has built up the team's competitiveness and financial viability and the challenge always was to take the team to a place where BAT could sell it and move it forward. Personally it's been three years of hard work and high pressure environment here and I can look back with great satisfaction and go on to the next challenge. The BAR car will be extremely competitive next year; Honda has done a great job on the engine and the chassis is looking good. I believe that the elusive win is around the corner and that BAR can challenge Ferrari all the way down the line."
Richards says that it is not financially viable for small companies like Prodrive to invest in F1.
"You either need to be a major car manufacturer or a crazed multi-billionaire and I am neither of them. I am very excited to be taking Aston Martin back to Le Mans next year, and I feel guilty that I have not been able to do more in the WRC. I hope to correct that. I also hope to spend more time with my family, which I have not done."
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