David Richards

After three years as BAR team boss, David Richards' tenure at the team has come to an end following Honda's purchase of 45 per cent of the team and its decision to restructure the management of the outfit. Here the Briton talks about Honda's decision, his achievements and his plans for future

David Richards

The arrival of Honda and its investment is a very good and solid prospect for the team. With the uncertainties of Formula 1 and looking at the future and wandering what it holds, it's good to know Honda has committed to the team. In fact building of the team's windtunnel begins on Monday, this and other investment from Honda in the future means everyone here as total job security.

It's the era of the car manufacturer now, we've been through the first three years of the business and have gone through the Prodrive era which involved three years of building the team up to be a competitive and viable business proposition and my challenge from the outset was always to take the team to a place they could sell it and move forward. The next stage now is the car manufacturer and its influence over the team - a general indication of the era F1 is now going into.

After three years of hard work from me and the Prodrive team and can look back with enormous satisfaction and we'll move on to the next challenge.

Looking to next year, the car will be extremely competitive next year, Honda has done a great job on the new engine, the chassis looks good, the driver line-up is stable and going forward so I think that elusive win that we were looking for this year is now just around the corner. Despite everyone expecting Ferrari to be really strong next year there is every chance that BAR can challenge them right the way down the line next year so I think it's going to be a very interesting year ahead.

I think we delivered a five-year plan in three-years so it's come a little bit ahead of our time, but you shouldn't look as that as a down, it's been a very positive sign and BAT are over the moon that we have done that in the time frame we did.

My job was very clearly in this period of time and I made it clear that I was here to take it from one stage to another stage and that is what I've done and as far as I'm concerned that is now done.

When you sell a business and it moves on, it's quite normal that people look at the way a team is structured for the future and the way they want it to be structured for the future and you can't argue with that.

It's no good to look at it in that direction at all. I've done a great job, I've set the team up for next year and it's in the best condition it's ever been in. I've got many other challenges at Prodrive to keep me occupied and perhaps the odd spare weekend to stay at home and see my family.

I've learnt in this business that you never say never and it would be foolish to close the door on something now. But at the same time, don't expect to see me in the pitlane very much next year.

I've always had ambitions and I've proven them and got my colours on that one.

I think that is quite probable and I certainly hope he would consider that. It's a question you have to ask Jenson and I think when he sees the performance of the car next year and the team he will realise there are great foundations here and a great team of people to go forward with, but that's something he has to address and I don't suppose he'll be making that decision in the short-term, I think he'll wait to see how next year pans out.

I've never been short of things to do. Obviously at Prodrive we've just taken on the Aston Martin contract with the challenge of Le Mans ahead of us, which is going to be exciting. Clearly the World Rally Championship has many issues that I'd like to be involved in and feel slight remiss that I haven't given it the attention it deserves in the last few years. But I think above everything else I haven't given my family enough time over the past few years and I really need to address that.

I will miss many aspects of it, but there are some aspects that I won't miss. It's been a very high-pressure environment to work in these last few years but it's been very rewarding by the same token so it goes in equal measure.

Nick has been an important part of Prodrive for the past five years and I think we have got very complementary skills. He's very good on the operational side, he's superb at the processes and the basic organisation of the company. But I've always believed that organisations evolve and move forward and I think if they don't change and don't move forward you don't give opportunity to new people and I think it's important that we do that.

I wouldn't be so foolish to make such a rash statement as that, but I certainly won't be at Melbourne next year heading one of them up.

It was by mutual wish, I wouldn't say there's any one party that would say it was by their own wish, it's by mutual agreement. It's an opportune time because yes, there's going to be a transitional period over the next few months and I will be here until the end of February next year, but when things change you pick your moments and when we sat down and talked about the next evolution of this team and our goals, clearly I have an awful lot of obligations to other people in other areas.

It's early days yet, but they are certainly going to be a strong influence for the team going forward, but at the same time they have made it clear that they are going to leave Geoff [Willis, technical director] on the technical side very much in charge, quite clearly that is the right decision given the performance he's brought to the team recently, but whether there's any need for them to take up further investment is a question for them, and of course to BAT when it comes to the end of the cigarette advertising era.

Sometimes you set yourself targets and you have to revise them, when in the light of circumstances you have to look at things pragmatically and the right time is now for the situation that has evolved as it has now.

We've had a very positive relationship. Obviously I don't hold back easily and I demand a lot from our partners and that at times will not endear me to every one, but that's my style and I expect 100 per cent from every single partner, at times it's led to certain frictions but I think there's a mutual respect there. I think you could find that we could be working on another project together in the near future.

No, I think I was the one person who was undamaged by it quite frankly, I'd rather it never happened by I came out as cleanly as one would expect.

I would feel very proud and very happy for them and I will sitting with my feet up at home enjoying a beer celebrating.

Richards Says Quitting was a Mutual Decision
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