Prodrive, Formula One’s twelfth team that is due to enter the sport in 2008 have hit a brick wall. They have been in the news this past fortnight regarding their intention to use another teams chassis. This is currently a grey area in the rules and regulations, and there is a battle going on at the moment centred around the 2007 entrants from Super Aguri and Scuderia Toro Rosso. However, under Max Mosley’s cost-cutting plans, it was thought this ruling would be clarified for next year in Prodrive’s favour, thus allowing team owner Dave Richards to hook up with a current team.
Recently, this team was announced as McLaren as the talks between both parties were confirmed. Then the FIA scheduled a meeting to clarify things further as Williams led a protest about the legality of the proposed 2008 Prodrive car, the meeting being penned in for October 24/25th.
But today, Dave Richards stated that the deal between his team and McLaren is off, suggesting that the added complication brought about by the protest from other teams was the cause.
We cannot do the plan that we had with McLaren now. There will not be a full-blooded equal car arrangement from day one, it cannot be. In the meantime, we will consider all our alternative options for next season. Dave Richards.
Interestingly, Prodrive have not ruled out using a hybrid of another car, just that they appear to not be able to use an identical car. It is possible that the team could purchase a modern F1 chassis and develop it themselves, although this would sort of go against the cost-cutting scheme that Mosley wants.
The FIA meeting hasn’t happened yet, and that may reverse things, or at minimum change Prodrive’s approach. But one thing certainly looks certain right now: Mosley cannot make his mind up. Let’s hope he can by the end of the month.