Ex-Benetton and BAR boss David Richards has finally confirmed what most of us feared: Prodrive will not compete in the 2008 season. Having been awarded the twelfth slot on the grid for next year, beating other hopefuls along the way, Richards has invested an awful lot money into new facilities and staff to compete in Formula One. However, complications surrounding the Concorde Agreement have prevented the Briton from entering his team in next years championship.
There was a dispute about our eligibility. 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. Dave Richards.
The controversy stems from the team wanting to partner another – in Prodrive’s case, McLaren – and use their chassis. However, the current rules stipulate that each entrant must design and build their own car. Super Aguri and Scuderia Toro Rosso are currently in the firing line over this, having raced a modified Red Bull and 2006 Honda respectively during 2007. It was expected that the new Concorde Agreement would see an update to this regulation and teams would be allowed to buy cars off the shelf. The agreement has been postponed though, and with the possibility of legal action (should Prodrive compete in their desired manner) combined with no further clarification on the rules, Richards has decided to re-group and aim for 2009.
To me, this seems like the FIA are shooting themselves in the foot, again. Prodrive requested to be able to start mid-season – which some teams have done in the past – but as Richards states, the FIA said no. I’m sure it is more complicated than just that, but it does scream of stupidity – something the FIA are known for. I was looking forward to a new team on the grid next year, and I’m sure the general fanbase would have welcomed a twelfth competitor. But alas we will have to wait until 2009 now. Presuming, that is, Formula One hasn’t been killed off by the governing body by then.