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McLaren one of three options says Richards

NEWS STORY
23/08/2007

Talking to The Times, Prodrive boss David Richards has said that using the McLaren-Mercedes package is one of three possible options available to him for 2008.

"McLaren is one of three possible options for us," said the Englishman, "but they are closest. We will not be able to make an announcement until next month but talks are progressing very well and we will be on the Formula One grid in 2008."

His comments come at a time when there is growing concern as to whether the British outfit will make the Melbourne grid, with a number of previous deadlines passing with no official confirmation as to the team's plans.

In 2008, Max Mosley's customer car scheme, whereby teams can purchase entire packages from rival teams, becomes reality. With Super Aguri and Toro Rosso already having essentially jumped the gun, by racing the 2006 Honda and 2007 Red Bull, respectively, Prodrive would be the first outfit to take full (legal) advantage of the rules.

Mosley introduced the customer car rule as part of his grand plan to reduce costs. By missing out on all the R&D that has gone into the design and development of the McLaren-Mercedes package, it is claimed that Prodrive could 'save' as much as 150m.

Quite who Prodrive's other two options are is open to speculation, but it is highly unlikely to be Honda, the team (as BAR) that Richards successfully managed before being dumped prior to the 2005 season. This year, after 11 races the Japanese team has but one point and is currently trailing Super Aguri. So bad is the Brackley outfit's season, Super Aguri has opted to build its own car for 2008.

It is understood that there are a number of "other issues" to be sorted before the FIA gives Richards the green light and sign on the dotted line with McLaren. However, in view of the fact that so many previous deadline have passed without comment, some within the paddock remain sceptical.

As for drivers, the names most frequently linked with the new team are those of Pedro de la Rosa and Gary Paffett, both test drivers with McLaren. However, if Richards does secure a McLaren-Mercedes package there would surely be a number of drivers eager to join the new team.

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