Honda website
Honda website

NOVEMBER 2, 2006

Nissan rumours and reality

There have been rumours in recent days suggesting that Nissan may want to invest in Formula 1 in the near future. There is some logic in the idea if Nissan could acquire an F1 franchise - although these are few and far between. The only logical one available is if Prodrive cannot get its act together. That is not very likely given, if faced by a Nissan proposal, David Richards would try to negotiate a deal for his company rather than simply sell and run. The other option would be to try to persuade everyone to increase the number of cars on the grid - and it is hard to see that happening as it would mean all kind of fights over prize money.

If a franchise could be found, the logic would be for a Nissan team to be a Renault B team as this would cut out the need to spend years investing and developing and would give the best value for money, something which Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn is famed for chasing.

The problem with this idea is that Renault would have to overcome internal doubts about the idea as the Renault F1 engineers would advise against such a situation as it could affect the team's performance. It is not impossible but it would be a risk.

The option would be for a branding switch to Renault but this makes little sense as Renault still wants to benefit from its F1 involvement

The concept of putting Alain Prost in charge is a nice idea but his reputation as a team leader took a serious hit when his own team collapsed with huge debts in 2000 and it is hard to imagine him making any form of F1 comeback.

Nissan could do an in-house project - there is plenty of serious sporting technology already available from Nismo - but that goes back to the problem of the franchise. Who is going to sell?