NOVEMBER 30, 2007

Prodrive looking ahead

Although Prodrive has admitted that it will not be racing in F1 in 2008 the company's ambitions remain much the same with David Richards saying that F1 is "the right place for Prodrive to be" and arguing that the team would be there but for the change of mind in F1 circles about customer cars. Ironically, it seems that customer cars will be allowed next year but on the understanding that they will be allowed for just two years and then all those involved must be a constructor. There will still be the possibility of a team buying a certain number of key components from rival operations but they will have to build the actual chassis themselves.

The real problem is whether or not Prodrive will have the money available again. We hear on the F1 grapevine that the sponsor that was behind the Prodrive team has decided that it still wants to be in Formula 1 in 2008 and that this has led to a substantial deal with another team. Our sources say this is WilliamsF1 but the team is saying nothing at the moment. There have been a few rumours but these have been denied.

The question of customer cars is causing trouble for a number of teams as there reamin stories that there are buyers for Scuderia Toro Rosso and for Super Aguri F1 waiting until the rules are sorted out and willing to sign up if customer cars are allowed for the next two seasons. Prodrive still has an entry although it is not clear whether this extends beyond 2008. The F1 entry list, which should come out on Monday, will answer this question. If the 12th entry does become available for 2009 there is no doubt that there will be people keen to get their hands on it, a sign that F1 will always remain the aspiration for teams even if the means to achieve the goals are difficult to gather.