Prodrive lodges F1 entry for 2010
|By Simon Strang||Friday, May 29th 2009, 09:56 GMT|
David Richards is preparing to re-enter the Formula 1 arena after lodging an entry under the Prodrive banner with the FIA for the 2010 world championship.
The team is the third new entry to formally apply for one of the three places currently available on the 2010 grid, with Campos Meta1 and Team US F1 having already submitted their entries.
Lola is also expected to submit an entry before the end of today's cut-off.
Richards' decision to enter F1 now has been prompted by the fact that a drive to forge a budget cap in the sport has one again made it commercially viable for his company to be competitive - conditions Richards has consistently held over entering F1.
"We are very appreciative of the support we have been given in putting together our entry, not least by both the FIA and FOM," said Richards. "With the help of Dar Capital, in raising the finance, coupled with our understanding of the latest proposals to assist new teams, we now feel the conditions are right to formally request the FIA for an entry.
"The level of next year's cost cap has risen substantially since we originally considered entering. However everyone appears committed to major reductions in future years and when one takes into account the transition proposals for new teams we are confident that we now have the opportunity to be both commercially viable and competitive.
"As we have said all along, we don't want to be in Formula 1 just to make up the numbers."
Prodrive's entry comes 18 months after its last attempt to enter F1 was scuppered by the ban on customer chassis; the team having negotiated a deal to source cars from McLaren.
The link with McLaren could remain this time around in the form of a technical partnership, although details of the engine package are still yet to be revealed. Force India has similar ties to McLaren in the current season, and uses engines from Mercedes-Benz.
Finance for the project has been assisted by Middle-East-based finance, logistics and property company Dar, which formed the backbone of the Richards-led conglomerate that paid $925 million for a majority stake in Aston Martin in 2007.
Assuming that the team's entry is accepted, it will mark Richards' return to the F1 paddock for the first time since 2004, when he was stood down as team principal of BAR following the team's purchase by Honda.
Prior to his three-year stint with BAR he'd served for one year as director of Benetton F1 in 1997.