NOVEMBER 6, 2002

Asiatech shuts up shop

The Asiatech company has closed its doors and laid off its staff. The news means that more than 200 people are out of work in the Paris area, just 10 months after the closure of Prost Grand Prix. Asiatech has been in operation for two seasons and came into existence when a mysterious consortium, represented by businessman John Gano and engineer Enrique Scalabroni, took over the Peugeot F1 project at Velizy-Villacoublay.

The plan had been to move from being an engine supplier to becoming a whole F1 team and a small group of chassis engineers went to work in the old Williams touring car factory in Didcot to design a car for 2003. The long-term aim was to move to new premises but for reasons that are not entirely clear the money did not appear and as the engines were never competitive Asiatech ran out of customers - even when offering free engines.

At Suzuka the company announced that it would be taking a year out of F1 but there seems to be no hope for the future and so the program has disappeared. There may be some hope for some of the staff as nearby Renault Sport may decide to pick up some of the best of the Asiatech men as it continues its struggle to make the wide-angle V10 more competitive.