MAY 19, 1997

Watch out for Redon

ONE name which is being overlooked in relation to the future of Prost Grand Prix is that of French Formula 3000 driver Laurent Redon, who is tipped to be nominated as Prost's test driver for 1998. The 23-year-old is currently racing with David Sears's SuperNova F3000 team but is well-connected with Prost and his sponsors. Born in St Chamond (Prost's home town) he is the son of Josette Zannier, who founded the Z clothing company with her brother Roger in the early 1960s and is still a director of the children's clothing company.

Roger Zannier - who runs both Z and the shoe company Kickers (which sponsors Benetton) - is a close friend of Prost and in early 1994 was being mentioned as the man behind Prost's takeover of Ligier at the time.

Redon has enjoyed plenty of family support during his racing career. He was a finalist at the Winfield School in 1993 and jumped straight into French F3 with backing from Z in 1994 and won the French title in 1995. He joined the DAMS F3000 team last year - supported by Kickers - and moved to SuperNova this year. It should also be noted that he has a long association with Total, which will be Prost's fuel supplier next season.

It is also possible that Zannier will end the Kickers association with Benetton and will switch to Prost, although this may be complicated as Zannier and Flavio Briatore have close links, Briatore briefly owning Kickers when Zannier ran into financial trouble in 1996.