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Prodrive Named As 12th Team

Prodrive Named As 12th Team

David Richard’s Prodrive company has been announced as the twelth Formula One team for the 2008 season. After beating the other 10 hopefuls, Richards has been quoted as being delighted at the FIA‘s decision, but is under no illusion of the task that now awaits him.

The FIA chose Prodrive because of Davids proven track record. He has previously managed the Benetton team (which is now Renault) and also was in charge of BAR when they made their leap forward in 2004. DR helped to nurture Jenson Button and has been a keen participant in F1 for many years. Outside of the crazy circus, Prodrive has won multiple World Rally Championships with Suburu, and has also won the British Touring Car Title and the GT1 Class at Le Mans.

Whilst most people thought David would get the entry over the likes of Eddie Jordan, Paul Stoddart and even Eddie Irvine, one obstacle which is still to be overcome is the planning permission for Prodrive’s factory in Warwickshire. Despite claiming that 300 new jobs would be created and a boost to the local ecomnomy, residents living in and near the town of Honiley have complained that congestion would rise in the area as the existing infrastructure wouldn’t be able to cope.

It is likely that permission will be granted, and Prodrive now has the challenge of mounting a serious bid to be a competitive team in Formula One. It is still possible that more new teams may enter for 2008 though. Although Max Mosley has said that an increase in the grid size is unlikely, teams like Midland and Super Aguri may not last another 2 years, and there has been recent speculation over the potential sale of the Midland team.

Maybe we will see the comeback of previous team owners and drivers? Apparently Jordan put an entry in, along with the rumoured Russian-backed Irvine and one-time Minardi owner Paul Stoddart has vowed to re-enter F1. Even Jean Alesi has been touted as a team boss to the second McLaren team. Only time will tell if these teams get off the ground and will have a place in F1, but make no doubt that the pitlane will once again be blessed with the savvy Richards and his successful (in other formulae) Prodrive company.

Oliver White

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