Dave Richards, majority stakeholder in Aston Martin and chairman of Prodrive, has officially lodged his application to join Formula One in 2010. Under his Prodrive company that has previously won three World Rally Titles with their self-prepared Subaru Imprezas, Richards hopes to make it all the way into the sport this time around. In 2006, Richards was awarded a chance to step up to Formula One but soon pulled the plug when the FIA said they would disallow customer cars.
However, with budgets being reduced and technical partnerships with existing teams being allowed, Richards has decided that he can afford to enter Formula One. The Prodrive boss has backing from the Middle-East-based finance and logistics company Dar Capital, who helped Richards when he bought Aston Martin from Ford in 2007.
We are very appreciative of the support we have been given in putting together our entry, not least by both the FIA and FOM. With the help of Dar Capital, in raising the finance, coupled with our understanding of the latest proposals to assist new teams, we now feel the conditions are right to formally request the FIA for an entry.
The level of next year’s cost cap has risen substantially since we originally considered entering. However everyone appears committed to major reductions in future years and when one takes into account the transition proposals for new teams we are confident that we now have the opportunity to be both commercially viable and competitive.
As we have said all along, we don’t want to be in Formula 1 just to make up the numbers. Dave Richards.
No other details have been released as of yet, but it is possible for Prodrive to continue the previously-planned association with McLaren. Although the Woking-based team currently work with Force India, they could extend that to Prodrive with the FIA’s approval.
It also isn’t known if the entry will have any association with the famous Aston Martin name. The entry has been submitted under the Prodrive banner, a name famous in motor racing circles in its own right. However, the appeal of Aston Martin is strong and as Ferrari have proven, Formula One does help road car sales – Ferrari posted only a very small reduction in sales recently over their previous year’s efforts.
Prodrive have become the third new entry to the 2010 Formula One Championship, following Campos and USF1. Many news sites are also expecting Lola to submit an entry before the end of the day, the 29th being the cut-off point unless places remain available.