On the eve of the San Marino Grand Prix, two months ago, Prodrive's finance director Clive Scrivener walked into David Richards' office, waving a piece of paper at the company's founder and chairman.
"You want the good news or the bad news?" Scrivener began. "Well, the good news, you've got the entry for the 2008 Formula One World Championship. The bad news, we want to know what the hell is your plan."
There was never a doubt that Prodrive would be picked by the FIA, Formula One's governing body, as the 12th team for 2008. There was never a question of how suitable Richards and his company are for the task at hand. In fact, it could be argued that never before in the history of Formula One has there been a new, private entry with a better reputation and more credentials than Prodrive.