Richards says no debut for Prodrive in 2008

Thu, 22 November 2007, 10:41

David Richards has confirmed for the first time that Prodrive will definitely not debut in formula one as planned in 2008.

“There was a dispute about our eligibility,” the Briton said in an interview with the German specialist magazine Auto Motor und Sport.

“In addition, the new Concorde agreement has been repeatedly delayed. We asked the FIA to be able to start mid-way through the season: our request was rejected.

“So for 2008 there is not a realistic chance of there being a Prodrive formula one team,” Richards stated.

In April of last year, F1’s governing body announced that Banbury-based Prodrive, an outfit famous for its involvement in world rallying with Subaru, had been selected to become the twelfth and final team in 2008.

But the touted ‘customer car’ rules have since been the subject of intense controversy in the paddock, moving Richards last month to reveal that a planned link-up with McLaren-Mercedes had been called off.

Richards explained that Prodrive’s target now is to debut in 2009, pending the consent of the FIA World Motor Sport Council.

“Secondly, we must wait for the new Concorde. Only then can we fully assess our options,” he added.

Richards, former Benetton and BAR boss, said: “Our ambition is still to be in formula one.

“But there was the risk of legal procedures because we wanted to use a customer car. As a result, our entire business plan was put into doubt.

“So we have chosen to re-group instead of simply race ahead blindly,” he explained.

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