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Prodrive in for 2008

NEWS STORY
28/04/2006

Ex Benetton and BAR boss Dave Richards will be back in F1 in 2008.

Prodrive which is run by Richards has been accepted as the 12th and final team for the 2008 Formula 1 Championship and will join the 11 current teams on the grid in two years time.

The FIA published the list of accepted entrants this morning (Friday). In all 22 teams had applied for the 12 slots on the starting grid.

"This is wonderful news for everyone in the company," Richards said in a statement, "We have won World Rally Championships, British Touring Car titles and the GT1 class at Le Mans, and have been saying for some time that we would also like to be in Formula 1 with our own Prodrive team. We are now one step closer."

"Prodrive has the best combination of financial backing, technical capability and motorsport experience and is well known to the FIA through its participation in the World Rally Championship," said FIA president Max Mosley. "Also, Prodrive's chief executive, David Richards, has experience as a Formula One team principal."

Mosley indicated the grid was unlikely to increase to greater than 12 teams for reasons of safety and because it would be difficult to increase circuit facilities.

Richards controls the commercial rights to the world rally championship and Prodrive run Subaru's world rally team, the Aston Martin Le Mans sportscar team and compete in Australian V8 supercars with Ford. In 2004 BAR, now Honda, came second in the Formula 1 constructors championship wuth Richards at the helm and he also had a spell with Benetton prior to that.

Unsuccessful entrants included former Paul Stoddart ex owner of Minardi, the Direxiv team headed by Jean Alesi and backed by McLaren and British F3 frontrunners Carlin Motorsport.

Mosley said he was not surprised by the level of interest, with new regulations proposed to reduce the costs of competing significantly. "What pleased me most was the high calibre of entries received. With this kind of demand Formula One has a bright future," he said. "The 2008 Sporting Regulations have reduced the cost of competing and should improve the sporting spectacle at the same time. It makes for a very attractive prospect."

Richards was confident that the rule changes would allow Prodrive to be competitive, but warned that securing an entry was just the start.

"We now have less than two years to build a team and put two competitive cars on the starting grid for the first race of the 2008 championship," he said."The task is enormous and the expertise and experience of the established teams well recognised. However, Prodrive has more than 20 years of motorsport experience and all of us relish a challenge."

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