Prodrive not making 2011 F1 application

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Rallying remains Prodrive's priority

Prodrive is not applying to be the 13th team in F1 in 2011, despite having made several attempts to join in recent years.

A statement issued by the team said it is focussing on competing in the World Rally Championship and sportscar racing in 2011.

Prodrive was one of the teams which applied to join the grid this year, but was turned down in favour of Campos (now HRT), Manor (now Virgin), US F1 (which failed to get on the grid) and, later, Lotus.

The outfit run by David Richards was granted a place on the grid for 2008 as the FIA prepared to bring in rules allowing teams to run customer cars. But after the FIA failed to get the customer car rules approved Prodrive was unable to compete.

When Honda put its team up for sale at the end of 2008 Prodrive looked into taking it over, but instead Ross Brawn and Nick Fry completed a management buy-out of the team which became Brawn GP and is now owned by Mercedes.

Richards also looked into buying Renault’s team at the end of last year before it sold a stake to Genii Capital.

Richards said:

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. 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 underestimated. 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.
David Richards

Update: Lola also not entering F1 in 2011

Read more: Prodrive miss another chance to enter F1

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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48 comments on “Prodrive not making 2011 F1 application”

  1. Prisoner Monkeys
    15th April 2010, 10:22

    I’m not heartbroken. Richards had his chance, and he blew it. Game over.

    1. We’re going to have this argument again, aren’t we? :-)

      It’s not Richards’ fault the FIA didn’t get the customer car regs on the books…

      1. Prisoner Monkeys
        15th April 2010, 10:34

        But it is Richards’ fault for not forseeing that other teams might object to his buying the McLaren and Mercedes chassis and engine combination – and for not having a contingency plan for the event that the customer chassis regulations were shot down. He might not have been guaranteed instant success, but he certainly would have been more competitive than if Prodrive had built a chassis of their own. All customer chassis regulations would have done is pave the way for a series that was run to spec regulations in all but name and have a grid populated by rich playboys rather than genuine racing teams. It would have done more harm than good, and Williams was right to turn it down.

        There. I’ve said my piece.

        1. Sush Meerkat
          15th April 2010, 11:12

          Whats funny is that if he’d bought a Force India no one would have objected, its just because it was a McLarvit that Frank got in a mood.

        2. Richards has said the conditions for Prodrive to enter F1 are that they could be competitive and that it had to make financial sense.

          While different teams will have different definitions of what competitive is, be it challenging for wins or just for points, these should be the sort of conditions every team sets themselves before they apply to F1.

          When the FIA said they were going to allow customer cars it would have meant that those two conditions would have been met for Prodrive. They had probably done the sums on entering F1 by building their own car but saw that they wouldn’t meet those conditions. In that case there would be no point to having a contingency plan of building their own car if the FIA did not pass the rules they said they would.

          Prodrive’s application was always conditional on them being able to use a customer chassis, if the FIA did not agree with this they could have turned down their application.

          When a football team signs a new foreign player they say it is conditional upon that player being granted a work permit.

          I don’t think Prodrive have a right to be in F1 more than anyone else, if they ever did deicide to apply to join again when a space becomes available I hope the FIA judge each application on its own merits.

          1. Well said PJA

            I think that customer cars would be very bad for F1, The route our three new teams have taken and the pain they are going through now is what makes them a real F1 team, if they just bought the other teams cars It wouldn’t be the same.

            Frank was very right to turn it down, as he generally is.

        3. I can’t agree more PM….

        4. LOL I knew PM would be the first to comment on the article before I’d even opened it.

        5. Yet you chose Prodrive as one of the most likely new entries for 2010.

          You were correct on the other two though (Campos and USF1)

    2. Considering you said Hamilton “blew it” in Australia, forgive me if I don’t accept your assessment ;-)

      McLaren made Hamilton’s tyre call in Australia. The FIA decided Prodrive’s fate in 2007 and 2009. Causality seems to not be your strong point?

      I do agree that DR should have had a consistency plan in case the customer cars deal collapsed, but somehow Toro Rosso were allowed, and it doesn’t change the fact the FIA messed up on their end too. 2009 was an even more one-sided decision, and even more dodgy.

      It seems if DR wants to enter into F1 in the future, he should build his own car, make sure it has a Cosworth, and then announce he will have nothing to do with the project. Then Prodrive might have a chance!

      1. Prisoner Monkeys
        15th April 2010, 22:58

        McLaren made Hamilton’s tyre call in Australia.

        And Button made his own call. Button went on to win; Hamilton went and got himself stuck behind the Ferraris. Hamilton blew it because he wasn’t willing to make a call on his own.

        The FIA decided Prodrive’s fate in 2007 and 2009.

        Yes, they did. Prodrive was accepted in 2007, but failed to show. They were rejected outright in 2009. I’m pretty sure you’ll find a correlation between the two events.

  2. Prisoner Monkeys
    15th April 2010, 10:27

    PS: Keith with the quickest draw! Posted before Autosport managed it.

  3. A bit of a shame I feel, although understandable. Richards has tried and tried to get a new team into F1, but has been been blocked time and time again in recent years.

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      15th April 2010, 10:38

      Why does Richards have more right than anyone else to a grid place? When Honda and Renault sold, they had every right to sell to whoever they felt was best for their teams.

      1. I didnt say he had more right than anybody else, nor did I imply it. I just think Richards is the team boss that F1 needs right now. Someone who know’s what he is doing.

        Nick Wirth and John Booth have made a car with a fuel tank too small.

        Mike Gascoyne has overseen a Lotus which is slow as a slug, ugly as a pig and has perhaps the world’s worst hydraulics

        And Colin Kolles has inherited an awful car from Campos, who’s leader had no money to even compete this season prior to his buyout.

        I somehow doubt this would have happened under Dave Richards. If somebody else can do this job and hit the ground running then excellent.

        1. I hate to be macabre, but Nick Wirth has a small habit of making cars that have their front wings falling off. Witness poor Kobayashi falling off the track and in the distant past, poor forgotten Roland Ratzenberger …

          He’s the last person i’d let into F1. The fuel tank debacle is just another snafu.

          1. How does Kobayashi come into this?

            Ratzenberger’s front wing failed because it had been damaged over a kerb at Aqua Minerale the lap before his fatal accident.

          2. Ignore me, i’m now officially guilty of posting before engaging brain. For some stupid reason I thought Kobayashi was driving for Virgin. ????? MUST … GO … DRINK … CAFFEINE :P

    2. Yes, Prodrive have tried and tried again to get into F1…. BUT every time they have tried to do it on the cheap and when they have found out that they are going to have to pay the going rate to enter they have pulled out. OK Richards is a businessman and doesn’t want to loose money, but you have to ask how serious he really is about wanting to be in F1 when he consistently tries to do it in a cut price way, and what such a teams long term future would be… perhaps he just wants publicity?

  4. yay,,,,, need more teams in wrc, is currently- greatest and most skillfull drivers in the world in a dying championship……………….

  5. To be honest I can see why he has taken this decision with so much on Prodrive’s plate at the minute.
    But, if any company deserves to be on the grid, its Prodrive. They have such a good track record in various forms of motorsport, be it rallying, sportscars, touring cars etc etc. And even Dave Richards’ record isn’t too shabby personally either.
    Why ever start up operations like USF1(!), Lotus and Campos got picked over Prodrive and to some extent Lola, is from a sporting and logical point of view beyond me.
    So unjust.

    1. I think it was highly suggested that the new teams that didn’t pick Cosworth engines were discriminated against a while back … don’t quote me though.

      1. Exactly, unjust.

    2. Why do this silly conspiracy theories keep floating around?

      All hell would have broken loose if US F1 wasn’t picked.

      Lotus got the spot that came free after Toyota withdrew. The other entries didn’t apply for that. Only BMW and Lotus did.

      Teams like Prodrive weren’t rejected because they wouldn’t go for Cosowrth, but because they simply didn’t have a signed engine deal at all.

      1. All hell would have broken loose if US F1 wasn’t picked.

        What makes you say that? This was probably the one team people were most sceptical of. With good reason, as it turned out.

        1. Definetely not.
          Before the new teams were picked, everybody tried to predict which three teams would be chosen. Almost every prediction included USF1.

          1. With a Miserable amount of guilt I will suggest that a mass amount of media coverage led to that now seemingly incomprehensible notion…

        2. People were sceptical wether it was a good idea to be based in the US. That doesn’t mean people thought that they wouldn’t make it at all.

          I have seen very few people claim that USF1 was the least likely team to make it onto the grid.

          In fact USF1 had already announced their goal to participate before the budget cap. So, when the budget cap fell trough, they should have had the best budget to cope with that.

          How are we supposed to know that they lied?

          Did you do a poll on which teams people though most/least likely to make it onto the 2010 grid?

        3. I looked up a thread of when/before the new entries were announced and people seem pretty positive about USF1:

  6. It is what I feared & that have happen.They tried many times to get into F1 (I guess 3-4 times) & all the time they were downplay by the FIA lead by Max Mosley.Now we may enter in a situation that the 13th team next season may be a even slower team then the new team this season.

  7. Three new teams, Prodrive, Lola, and Epsilon Euskadi. Three professional teams, who all have the facilities, the experiance, the racing connections, the sucsess to have got onto the grid very quickly, an professionaly, with the minimum fuss or risk of not making it, why they wern’t selected is completely beyond me.

    Yes Richards had his chance in 08 an didn’t do to well, but why anyone thinks Campos or USF1 where more likley to get on the grid is, intensly odd, or maxish, if you ask me.

    If these three had been given the go ahead the new teams would have been a much better proposition from the start.

    1. Lola ! Lola have about the worst record of any team in F1. They have been very successful elsewhere but previously in F1 they were a disaster, far worse than the three new teams.

      1. Mastercard Lola, yes. But Lola as a chassis manufacturer in F1 has scored points, podiums, pole positions and even a victory (John Surtees won the 1967 Italian GP in a Honda powered Lola, known as the Hondola).

    2. Prisoner Monkeys
      15th April 2010, 23:02

      Three new teams, Prodrive, Lola, and Epsilon Euskadi. Three professional teams, who all have the facilities, the experiance, the racing connections, the sucsess to have got onto the grid very quickly, an professionaly, with the minimum fuss or risk of not making it, why they wern’t selected is completely beyond me.

      You’re forgetting: Virgin was Manor Grand Prix, a Formula 3 team. Campos-Meta was Campos Grand Prix, a GP2 team. Of the five professional racing teams, it was Manor, Campos and Epsilon Euskadi who all have open-wheel racing experience. Prodrive do not, and to the best of my knowledge, the current incarnation of Lola – the company was completely sold after the 1997 disaster – do not, either (and if they do, it’s not recent).

  8. I think that Prodrive just don’t want to be part of F1. This year they might have a fairly good chance of getting an entry, but they choose not to apply. What the hell are they waiting for? That the stars align in their favor?
    Not applying this year might be a huge setback for the future. I don’t expect them to join in the next five years.

  9. It is Richards choice not to apply.No one else’s.
    The chance is there for him to take.If he doesn’t want to take it, it’s entirely his decision.

  10. i hope it’s epsilon euskadi, and they end up making a race track in the northern part of spain, the fans had been waiting for it, 50 years.

  11. Sounds like a case of ‘once bitten, twice shy… thrice… just don’t bother’ for Prodrive. Sounds like they might be planning to bring th Mini Cooper back into rallying though, which would be a sight to see.

  12. Formula 1’s loss is WRC’s gain.

    Prodrive have the expretise to once again excel in the WRC, and if they do bring the Mini name back it would certainly help spice up the WRC… leaderboards full of Citroen’s and Ford’s is just not on.

  13. Better Prodrive than HRT, Lotus or Virgin. No thanks to these backmarkers & Mad Max, F1 sucks now.

    1. Why? I have a lot of time for Prodrive but they have never run a successful single seater team although they did provide management for BAR early on. Why should they be better than three teams with a history of successful single seater racing all of which are actually performing better than any previous new F1 teams in the last 25 years?

  14. I hope Max is happy now that credible teams like Lola & Prodrive are shunning F1, while USF1 flopped and HRT is on life support. Some legacy eh?

  15. Why does a lot of people think that Prodrive is the Holy Grail?

    We all know how David Richards got on (or didn’t get on) with Benetton, and how he nearly drove BAR into the ground – with a hatred of Jacques Villeneuve that put Prost & Senna’s hatred for each other into the shade.

    Who says that Richards is automatically going to succeed? His aborted entry was a joke and his history running an F1 team should be taken into account as well. He’s not had a good relationship with F1 and I for one am glad he won’t be around.

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      15th April 2010, 23:08

      Why does a lot of people think that Prodrive is the Holy Grail?

      Believe me, I’ve been asking that for a long time. Richards has said he’ll bring Aston Martin back to Formula 1, but it’s not like he’s reviving a famous name – Aston Martin only had half a dozen entries in 1959 and 1960 and scored no points (they barely managed to finish at all).

      Prodrive have no open-wheel experience. They’re just a big name given their success in the WRC, which was a decade ago and in a completely different discipline of racing.

    2. Because support in F1 has never been about logic.

      Perhaps people believe Prodrive were hard done by in their previous attempts to get into F1. Perhaps they see Dave Richards as a counter-weight to the FIA in F1 politics, much as Ron Dennis was. Perhaps they just really want to see Aston Martin grace F1, and the famous Gulf livery adorn an F1 car.

      None of these are logical reasons. Some might even be plain wrong. But they have their reasons nonetheless.

  16. I’d like to see Prodrive finally get into F1, and be able to see what they’re all about.

    But I’m glad they haven’t rushed into it. Seeing the sponsorship troubles many teams are having, it would have been a massive risk, and they have enough on their plate already without F1, which would have to be their main focus to have any chance of success.

    I wonder if they’ll delay until 2013. Costs should have come down significantly by then, and the new engine formula will equalise things a little.

  17. If anything, the three new teams have shown just how difficult it is to match it with the midfield teams, let alone the big teams.

    Regardless of how much racing pedigree they have, or which historic car brand they want to revive, there is no reason to believe that a Prodrive entry would be any more competitive than current new teams.

    Also, there’s no guarantee that, had Prodrive been granted an entry previously under the ‘budget cap’ rules, they would have hung around when the budget cap was modified to a Resource Restriction Agreement. You have to give HRT and Virgin credit for sticking it out despite the goalposts shifting significantly from what they signed up for.

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