‘Three options’ for Prodrive F1 – Richards

Wed, 25 April 2007, 11:42

Prodrive’s David Richards has rejected reports of a definite 2008 alliance with McLaren by revealing that talks are ongoing with no fewer than three existing F1 teams.

The Briton plans to enter the sport next year with a car and engine bought from the same carmaker-backed outfit, and widespread speculation suggests that McLaren-Mercedes has long been the top option.

But while Richards insisted to Auto Motor und Sport that there is no great hurry, he added that Prodrive’s F1 partner will nonetheless be decided “soon”.

“We want to test together in the winter,” he told the magazine, “and we will make use of their engineers. But there is no great hurry at the moment.

“It is however a decision that will be made sooner rather than later, and we have three options.”

Richards said his decision to make Prodrive the first open ‘customer team’ is vindicated in Toyota and Honda’s high-profile failures to become competitive in F1 even with huge budgets.

He is targeting a start-up budget in 2008 of just $100m and eighth in the constructors’ title, but ruled out an immediate link-up with his newly-acquired road car company Aston Martin.

Richards confirmed, however, that bringing Aston Martin into the sport in the medium term future is on the cards.

“My partners from Kuwait and obviously myself know exactly what formula one has meant for Ferrari.

“In five years this might be more realistic for us,” he said.

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