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Prodrive rules out F1 entry in 2011

NEWS STORY
15/04/2010

Prodrive has announced that it is to focus on its return to the World Rally Championship in 2011, as well its Aston Martin sportscar programme, ruling out an entry in the 2011 Formula One World Championship.

"Our current focus is on Prodrive's return to the World Rally Championship in 2011 and that alone takes significant resource to design and develop a totally new car," said company boss David Richards in a statement this morning. "At the same time, we continue to expand our activities with Aston Martin in all categories of sportscar racing, in the USA, Europe and at Le Mans. We also have a full V8 Supercar series to contest in Australia with Ford, which together with further investment in advanced vehicle technologies for road car applications creates a very demanding agenda for the business.

"Taking on the challenge of starting a brand new Formula One team, finding the necessary funding and developing the car from scratch is a massive undertaking and not to be under estimated," he added. "As expected, we've witnessed the financial and technical challenges that the new teams have faced this year in just getting to the grid, let alone being competitive and whilst I have enormous admiration for their efforts I don't believe this is an appropriate strategy for Prodrive or Aston Martin to adopt.

"We've enjoyed a successful involvement in F1 in the past and respect the value it can create; we will therefore keep a close eye on developments in the Championship. However, I have always made it very clear that the timing for a Prodrive entry would be judged on two criteria: that we could be competitive and that the business case would make it a financially viable proposition. Today, if we were to adopt the strategy of starting a new team, I don't believe it is possible to meet these two conditions."

Prodrive has been linked with F1 for much of the last decade, David Richards having had successful turns at the helm with both the Benetton and BAR teams. In late 2007, following months of speculation linking the company with a customer deal involving McLaren and Mercedes, Richards announced that his outfit wasn't in a position to take on F1 at that time.

Subsequently, Prodrive did submit an entry when the FIA invited applications for the 2010 world championship, the British outfit, along with Lola, being rejected in favour of Campos (Hispania), Manor (Virgin) and USF1.

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