Prost goes out of business

Alain Prost's Grand Prix team has been closed down after a French court decided the funding was not available to keep them in business.

Prost goes out of business

The team is believed to have had debts of more than 20 million pounds.

"I will do everything I can to come back," Prost is reported to have said.

"This decision marks a failure and I must accept it but my first thoughts go to the team. We had built a real team, the best I think, but we did not have enough means."

A number of potential investors were linked with the team, but none of them carried the financial clout necessary to save the team from the brink. The Versailles commercial court announced liquidation this afternoon (Monday).

"I received so many blows for months and years that it's almost a relief for me," said Prost. "I was lynched in the last couple of weeks and I see it as a total failure for France. Until the very end, we did everything we could but we did not have any contact with a French investor."

Prost took over the Ligier team in 1997, and scored some promising results in his debut season as a team manager. But in its 83 races, the team never seriously threatened the big teams in Formula 1, and became a perennial tail ender.

The loss of works Peugeot engines at the end of 2000, soon after the loss of major backing from a French tobacco company, was the beginning of the end for the French team, as it was forced to pay a substantial amount for year-old Ferrari engines.

Prost GP is the first F1 team to collapse since Lola in 1997. It leaves three-time Grand Prix winner Heinz-Harald Frentzen out of a drive - although he has been linked to Arrows.

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