No F1 entry for Prodrive in 2012

F1 Fanatic round-up

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Here’s today’s round-up:


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Prodrive won’t consider F1 until 2013 (Autosport)

David Richards: “The obvious next point to look at Formula 1 is 2013 with the massive change in regulations that come along at that point in time, and if you were to consider an entry that would be the time to go.”

Formula for Success (Negative effect)

Pictures from Pirelli’s test at Bahrain a few weeks ago.

Thanks to LAK for the tip!

James Allen on the mood at Ferrari (ITV-F1)

Felipe Massa is under some pressure to raise his game after a poor season where he struggled to get close to the pace of his team-mate. He says that there was a very good technical reason for this, which is that the 2010 Bridgestone front tyre was 2% less strong relative to the rear tyre and that put his style of driving at a disadvantage.”

Codies preparing F1 online game (CVG)

“The game is described as a ‘service-based online game’ for a mainstream audience and the team will be based in Warwick.”

Thanks to Ajokay for the tip!

Follow F1 news as it breaks using the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app.

Comment of the day

There’s a lot of sympathy for Adrian Newey’s view on ‘proximity wings’ – but Kevin also thinks we should wait and see before passing judgement:

I agree with Adrian’s point of view, I don’t think anyone wants to see ‘manufactured’ racing. The ultimate solution is to reduce aerodynamic dependancy and tackle it that way, however I would say lets see what it brings. Lets not judge it yet until we see how it works

Happy birthday!

A very happy birthday to Ed!

On this day in F1

Adrian Newey refuted the view that banning double-diffusers would increase overtaking on this day last year.

With double-diffusers banned for this year that theory will be put to the test. But, as he said yesterday, the arrival of adjustable rear wings may make it hard to tell.

Image © Honda F1 Racing

Author information

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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74 comments on “No F1 entry for Prodrive in 2012”

  1. I agree with Kevin (and Newey). I don’t like the idea of the wing, but the fact that the FIA can decide where it can be used on a circuit will allow them to make adjustments if the racing seems to be getting silly. Whether or not they will do that is another question…

    1. So if it does not bring the wanted results, the FIA can just decide that it can be used only in the parking lot :-0

      1. Even if that were the case, I suspect that they would still allow its use at all times during practice and qualifying.

  2. I hope Prodrive do make it in to F1 at some point…one day.

    1. yes, it would be amazing to see a Gulf Aston Martin F1 car

  3. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: there’s not really a place on the grid for Prodrive. They had their chance back in 2008, and they blew it. Now, you can blame whoever you want for that – Mosley, Ecclestone, Frank Williams; whoever – but the fact is that Prodrive had an entry and they never made good on it. It clearly never occurred to Dave Richards that other teams might object to the proposed customer chassis regulations; if it had occurred to him, he would have had a contingency plan in place and Prodrive would have raced in 2008. So blame Mosley, Ecclestone and Williams as much as you care to, but you cannot deny that Dave Richards played his part in all of it. He’s not completely innocent and people would like to think he was. He wasn’t bringing some legendary marque back to the grid, either; Aston Martin competed in a handful of embarrassing races back in 1959 and 1960. In fact, I suspect the reason why so many people were keen on a Prodrive F1 team was because of the possibility of a ulf livery.

    1. It doesn’t matter whether Aston Martin is a legendary marque from F1 past, not every team has to have a racing history, surely it’s important for the sport to have a future so what’s wrong with a new team joining the sport, one that’s got a racing pedigree even if that’s not in F1. Should they turn the team into Aston Martin in time with a gulf livery then yes that would be something to get excited over, again what’s wrong with that?

      1. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just that people are willing to overlook serious flaws in the team for the sake of seeing the team in the sport. Like I said, Dave Richards never considered the possibility that other teams might object to his proposal. He committed to the idea without gauging the response from others. What’s to say he won’t do that again in the future?

        1. He felt there was no reason to gauge responses from others.

          It was within the rules so he went in for it, fair is fair. They then changed the rules and he pulled out. I don’t see why its a big issue tbh. Prodrive have a lot of great people working there, I could imagine they’d be able to create a competitive car.

          They simply don’t have the kind of funds to put into a full blown works team with the current rules. I think they’re considering coming back again because Virgin have proved that it can be done on a budget and they don’t want to come back till 2013 because the rule changes will mean a completely different car. They don’t want to have to build a car for one year then a totally different car the next. When you’re trying to stick to a budget you need an evolutionary approach.

          Wait… What was my point again? I shouldn’t post after drinking!

    2. Unfortunately, or fortunately, it doesn’t really matter how many times you say it, it doesn’t actually materially change the reality. The quite different reality.

      It’s very, very, basic, basic economics.

      If he signed-on for proposition X, which would cost Y, and have a reasonable probability of generating Z income, as long as Z is roughly greater than Y, the propostion was viable.

      When Y dramatically increased out of all recognition, and Z dropped to little more than FOM travel money, as a function of not being a McLaren customer car challenging, but a new build struggling … then the entire original proposition ceased to exist.

      He never blew anything … his contingency plan was clear, automatic and obvious; not to sign onto any agreement which leaves him bankrupted and the company he built for years in ruins.

      “and ProDrive would have raced” … using what for money. Blog post comments based on Fantasy Island finances are all well and good, but at some point crude reality needs to enter the picture.
      Aguri Suzuki, Tom Walkinshaw, Paul Stoddart or Colin Kolles; see any pattern in how that one always ends-up. A losing proposition always loses, the end is built into the beginning..

      I fail to see any scope for confusion in this relatively simple sequence of events. And I absolutely refuse to see any way in which someone can be made the “bad guy” for doing nothing more than following basic common-sense.

      He agreed to certain criteria, those critria disappear, the agreement disapears. Simples.

      1. Excellent post Feynman.

        1. HounslowBusGarage
          15th January 2011, 8:11


      2. no one can realyl argue against that summary of what happened.

      3. He never blew anything … his contingency plan was clear, automatic and obvious; not to sign onto any agreement which leaves him bankrupted and the company he built for years in ruins.

        If his only prospect of getting into Formula 1 was dependent upon a rule change that had the potential to be controversial and divisie in the paddock, Richards never should have submitted an entry bid in the first place. I cannot help but think that one of the twenty-one other tenders – like Carlin – would have been able to make it where Prodrive could not.

        1. I think you’re forgetting that when he go the entry the rule was already in place allowing customer cars (hence Super Aguri and Toro Rosso being able to run customer cars), however AFTER he had been granted an entry, the rules were changed to ban customer cars.

          1. He still hould have considered the possibility that the rule would be overturned. One of the major reasons why it didn’t go through was because Williams objected to it. They didn’t want some new team to come along and buy a McLaren or Ferrari chassis and proceed to beat them in the WCC standings when Williams had worked for years to get to that point. And they were right to object to it.

    3. I agree and in my opinion, even if Prodrive had been given an entry for 2010, we never would have seen them on the grid. Who says that after it was clear that the budget cap was not going to happen, they wouldn’t have said ‘we didn’t sign up for this’ and quit? If they would have had an entry, it would propably mean that a team like Virgin wouldn’t be on the grid today…

    4. Why would he want to enter F1 if not with the customer chassis?
      His target was to field a team running competative equipment from the start without putting much in car development, but focussing on running an efficient team instead.
      Not building up a new team and engineering capacity from scratch, like the 2010 entrants signed up to.

      1. In which case, doesn’t that bring us full circle and back to the FIA’s selection processes? Why give an entry to a team that wasn’t prepared/expecting to develop their own car, especially if using customer cars was a potential flashpoint amongst the existing teams?

        I would suggest that it was the FIA rather than David Richards that should have shouldered the burden of “foresight” in this case.

        That said, I find it mildly annoying that a vast majority of fans are quick to mock and condemn the efforts of HRT, yet when the name “Prodrive” is mentioned, there’s an almost-orgasmic explosion of superlatives to describe them when, in reality, HRT did what Prodrive weren’t willing or able to.

  4. Thanks for the birthday wish Keith!

  5. My main issue with the rear wing is the fact it can only be used at one point on the track. I’m guessing this means an end to moves like Hamilton on Rosberg in Aus, or Kobayashi on everyone and suzuka. Why would someone risk a move like that anymore? If they are fast enough to have a chance of attempting a move like that, there’s no doubt they will be close enough to use the rear wing and have a go at the designated overtaking spot with an even greater car advantage.

    I hope I’m wrong but I fear the days of a ballsy lunge or sticking it out round the outside are over

    1. I hate to break it to you, but the day of “a ballsy lunge or sticing it out round the outside” have been over for some time. The rear wing is not intended to replace overtaking, but to offer drivers an advantage that they might be able to use to aid it.

      1. so you wouldn’t call kobayashi’s moves in japan ballsy? or hamilton’s move on rosberg in aus?

        Yes they’re rare, but thats what makes them so special, now they could be completely gone because it’s much easier to wait where u have the top speed advantage.

        1. I would call Kobayashi’s moves stupid and reckless. He just went for it. It might have looked spectacular, but the moment he went for it, there was no way out of it. If anything went wrong, he’d be out of the race, and you’d be chasitising him for making foolish passing attempts.

          1. I guess he’s lucky it went right, and then again, and again, and then again.

            There are guys that stick it up the inside, there are guys that stick it round the outside … and then there are guys that just talk loudly about it Monday morning.

            We are now apparently criticising racing drivers for racing, calling them stupid for making overtakes …

            … we really are well and truly trough the looking glass on this one folks.
            Up is down and black is white, everyone adjust your watches.

            If anyone wants me, I’ll be watching Kobayashi in Japan, or Kubica in Singapore, or Hamilton in Malaysia … this thread has gotten far too surreal for my tastes.

          2. The point is that we have this idealised version of what Formula 1 is, with so many people wishing we could somehow magically go “back” to it. The problem is that that idealised version never existed in the first place, and the irony is that people rail against any change to the rules that might actually get the sport to resemble that ideal version. People have this vision in their minds of drivers performing stunning overtaking moves on a regular basis, the kind that make you draw breath sharply when they start it and cheer loudly when it is pulled off. They’re living in a fantasy world.

            95% of the posts on the internet that I have seen criticising the introducting of adjustable wings are wrong. People simply do not understand how they work or what they are intended for. They do exactly the same thing as the F-duct did, and can only be used under certain conditions. They do not guarantee a pass will take place, and those people who keep talking as if it will are only fear-mongering. At most, they will offer no more than about 10-15km/h at any one time, and the gains will be offset by a) the presence of KERS, and b) a driver taking a defensive line.

          3. Yes, I guess you can call Kobayashi reckless, but hey, guess what, that makes F1 entertaining for regular audience that are sick and tired of watching processions.

            However, I agree with you on adjustable rear wing, it won’t do much good for overtaking, especially with presence of KERS. I expect more of “non-flat” car bottoms. But I guess we’ll see.

          4. I get the impression, your exam did not really work out, or did you get out on the wrong side of the bed?

            Kobayashi went for the moves, and they worked out quite fine by just braking later. That shows his determination and courage to take the risk.
            Sure, had he been in 2-3 place in the race with championship pressure on him, he would probably have had to weigh the risks differently. But that was not the case, so he made some nice ballsy moves work!

          5. I have to agree with Jake. If a car is close enough to attempt an overtake then why would they risk it when they can wait for the straight and use the rear wing.

            The teams have already said that the rear wing will produce a performance gain much greater than KERS so KERS will not be enough for the car ahead

          6. You call them stupid and reckless. The problem is that everybody makes stupid and reckless moves once in a while. Hamilton did in Italy and Singapore. Vettel did in Turkey and in Belgium. So sometimes youre lucky, and somtimes 2 cars go out.

          7. @SoerenKaee
            For once I’m agreeing with Pm here, Kobayashis moves were pretty reckless. He was braking much too late and hoping the other driver hadn’t already reached a point where they couldn’t back out from him. Kamikaze driving is pretty accurate for him tbh.

            I certainly wouldn’t compare his moves too the Hamilton and Vettel moves you mentioned. Those were simply mistakes. Hamilton’s Monza move was because he was trying too hard to make up ground too quickly, he had a speed advantage and tried to get alongside. Simple mistake, stupid and entirely his own fault, but easily done. Hamilton went in ahead of Webber at Singapore so I’d call that a 50/50 at best. Vettel’s Turkey move was a 50/50 too, he was squeezed and had nowhere to go to. Spa was entirely his mistake, however it was not out of recklessness. He just lost it, these things happen.

            I personally think that Kobayashi is overrated. As entertaining as he to watch, I can’t help but feel he’s like Sato, but not as quick; same kind of moves. Occasionally one wouldn’t stick for Sato and he always got the blame!

      2. But its the difference between Hamilton on Rosberg in Melbourne and Alonso on Vettel in Bahrain. The latter was just meh – there was no way Vettel could defend. It was entirely expected, no real build where you could say there was going to be a battle, it was a nothing event.

        If that what is going to happen in F1 with the MRW and its over regulated articialness, that overtaking in the main becomes a nothing event, what have we got left? A husk, a motorsport that hasnt really got that much in on and off track competition left.

        NASCAR has its crashes to fall back on, which is attractive to some, but there isnt really a car/driver/team competition element to crashing.

        Whats the point of assembling the best drivers in the world, in the best racing cars in the world, at the best race tracks in the world, if you cant then in the true spirit of comptition let them to have at it?

    2. very good point.
      I imagine newey is right, and the artifitial overtaking it’s going to come back to hunt them sooner or later.
      If that doesn’t work, and the 4 cyl engine don’t sound or perform right. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I am very concerned about the engine side.
      If they at least gave the teams a chance to use 5 engines for qualy, and be able to use maximun boost on them, that would be a step in the right direction for a change.

    1. Nothing special, in my opinion. Besides, I think we’re all getting a bit tired of old liveries being reused…

      1. Perhaps the livery of the Toyota in the Bahrain Pirelli test is more to your liking?

        1. I like a black car! Okay, it was a bit plain, but a largely grey or white car definitely isn’t much better.

      2. Yea my thoughts exactly, everyone wants to live in “the good old days” of racing. Yes, it was more entertaining, but I’d like to think the quality of the current racing improves so 20 years down the track a team may use a livery and/or team from today.

      3. I do think it is sad to see a good livery go for a rehash of an old one, definitely. I like to see the old liveries on those old cars though.

        It is good to have some colour, design, and imagination put into a livery.

        A new one that does that adds something great to the grid. An old one that is recreated at best does it as well as it used to and thus does not disappoint; at worst it is a sad reminder of how good the livery was on the old car and how bad it translates.

        So in that respect, yes a nice new livery is much better; reusing an great classic livery could be great, but it still takes a good designer to do well, and the risk of spoiling it is bigger, IMHO.

      4. That’s Tom’s haha. And anyway, it’s not so much a rehash of an old livery, it’s a current one as they’re racing it at the mo. I personally would love a Gulf livery in F1, but I’d think I’d rather a cool british racing green Aston or something if they wanted to go down that road.

    2. McLarenFanJamm
      15th January 2011, 11:16

      I like it

    3. Only we do not have a clue, weather Prodrive would want to run the Aston Martin marque, nor weather Gulf would be a sponsor.

      I agree, why rake up old liveries (just like film remakes, series remakes or redoing old car models) instead of thinking of something new and innovating.

      We can watch vintage cars look great in these vintage liveries. They look, sound and smell great.

    4. If Aston were to be in F1, theyd have to run Racing Green, no matter the sponsor. The name and history oozes too much Britishness for anything else to be acceptable. It was the same with Jaguar – Ford made a huge hash of it, but there was no way that car was going to be in any other colour apart from British Racing Green.

  6. I’m sorry, but with the ‘new’ wings it will be absolutley the same for us, the public. I’m guessing we will be having the same amount of overtaking this year.
    The difference this year is that it will be harder for the drivers with so many buttons activity while driving

    1. hehehe, I agree with your comment. I guess in 10 years time there’ll be no steering wheel, only keyboard.

  7. I agree with the general negative response to the adjustable rear wing. Having outlawed the DDD, they have more or less decreed a new DDD: a death to defensive driving. Schumacher showed Lewis a trick or two in how to defend before the McLaren man muscled his way past in China; the skirmishes in the two prior laps made the overtake all the more sweeter. Lewis’ first stint in Canada. Alonso put in stellar defensive displays in Hungary and Singapore to score important points for his title. Jenson in Monza. I fear that drivers will be actively disinclined to defend when they know that second is the “it” place to be, safe in the knowledge that they can just breeze up past the driver as and when they please.

    Secondly, the amount of negative press this will garner will be monumental. As soon as Driver X is passed by Driver Y on the last lap with the rear wing trick, Driver X will spout to the media that he was beaten by machine and not man. Casting doubt on the veracity of overtaking manoeuvres (see Germany 2010 albeit under different circumstances)is not good for F1.

    Thirdly, the degree of rotation of the rear wing is a constant, so at a high downforce circuit like Hungary, the percentage gain from a rear wing stall will not be as great as at a low downforce circuit like Monza. The expected value is a 9.6 mph advantage. So at high downforce circuits like Monaco or Hungary we may see a 6-7 mph advantage, whereas at Monza (or circuits like Spa and China with a long straight) the advantage could be more like 12-13 mph. This could result in the wing having little to no effect on high downforce circuits whereas trailing cars could slingshot past their opponents halfway down the straight on lower downforce circuits.

    Fourthly and most importantly, by having ‘designated points’ to use the rear wing switch, we will see “localised overtaking”. Inventive overtaking or non-conventional moves in non-conventional places will fall by the wayside. Why should Lewis go around the outside of Nico in Australia if he can just focus on getting a good exit of the high speed chicane and push the button? Also, for circuits with two consecutive passing zones such as Albert Park or Malaysia (the straights leading into and out of the final corner), Korea (the straights leading into and out of turn 3) Abu Dhabi (the straights leading into and out of turns 8 and 9) et cetera, no one will bother to pass in the first passing zone as they will leave themselves vulnerable to a repass (a la Petrov on Hamilton in Malaysia). Instead the onus will be to get a good exit at the end of the first passing zone to more easily pass in the second passing zone, without fear of a riposte going into a twistier section of the circuit.

    To conclude, this rule seems “artificial” to the extreme as well as contradictory to one of the fundamental maxims of racing that being ahead is always an advantage.

    1. …no one will bother to pass in the first passing zone as they will leave themselves vulnerable to a repass…

      Hadn’t thought of that, but you’re right. There will definitely be a lot of strategy for drivers to employ. The whole thing is kind of a bummer.

      1. My concern is if two drivers from the same team are together on the same part of the track they can work together to extend their lead, or catch up to the opposition.

        For the sake of competition it would be entertaining but if we have a team that absolutely dominates this year we could be having one sided races.

        1. HounslowBusGarage
          15th January 2011, 8:18

          I was thinking about that kind of thing in terms of qualifying. Team Member A is followed onto the main straight by Team Member B who uses his ‘Wacky Races’ go-faster wing to increase speed at the start of the qualifying lap.

          1. Only in qualifying everybody can use it as they please, not dependant on weather they are or are not chasing another car. So it will not be needed there.

          2. HounslowBusGarage
            15th January 2011, 13:30

            @ BasCB
            Aha, didn’t know that. Does that mean that the sensor system that would normally decide that Car A is within 1 second of Car B will be left in the “on” position for Qualifying? And for Free Practice too, I suppose.
            Actually, that raises another question.
            In the race itself, Car A is about to overtake Car B and the system allows the wing on Car A to stall etc. As he goes passed Car B, Car B is then behind Car A but within 1 second of Car A and apparently in a re-pass situation, does the system allow the wing to stall on Car B as well?

          3. I think not HBG, the activation sensors are located at a fixed point near the beginning of a straight so Car B wouldn’t be able to adjust it’s wing until it passes the next activation point.

          4. … and presumably the FIA won’t designate a “passing zone” that’s long enough to allow the passed car to regain its lead.

          5. HounslowBusGarage
            15th January 2011, 20:48

            Many thanks to DeadManWoking and US_Peter for the clarification, but I still don’t think I’m going to like this rather artificial passing weapon. Call me old fashioned, but to me passing someone through sheer cunning and balls when they least expect it has a lot of merit, not in a ‘designated passing zone’ with Penelope Pitstop trickery.
            I reserve the right to change my mind completely when we have loadsa ovetaking in the first race though!

      2. It’s bad when there’s a strategy behind overtaking, because it makes it less entertaining and reduces the chances of these moves.

        1. I agree with you HBG. I want overtaking to have a high quality rather than just high quantity.

    2. I have some hope that the best drivers will manage to pull surprise overtakes at other spots, precisely because their opponents are not expecting it outside the overtaking area – that would add something :-D

      That is sort of what these devices should ideally be – a way to have a better chance of avoiding Trulli train-like effects, while a good driver can find ways to overtake without it. Imagine rookies having a target of unaided overtakes to prove their worth.

      I agree though that there is a risk that it will be too easy, and a bit arbitrary, and very artificial.

      So it is good that all teams and the FIA approach it with an open mind – Pat Symonds is right about the trying being important; they can keep talking for years but it won’t change a thing.

  8. With many new rules changes in 2013 mainly the engine department I think it’s a good idea for them to enter then as a manufacturer & who knows may even get some customer to provide some engine.

  9. I think qualifying position will not matter much this season, only what will matter is race pace… if ya stuck behind someone… adjust rear wing and move ahead easily.

  10. And the current situation of wakes stopping overtaking isn’t artificial racing? A feature of the cars that gives an advantage to a slower driver because he’s in front? All these do is reverse the advantage in favour of a faster driver following.

    It’s not pretty, but at least they’ve put in a stop-gap to tide us over until 2013.

    1. Here’s to hoping it will work OK!

  11. I think we will be ok with the new wings. They just negate the dirty air effect on one place of the circuit, so it should make overtaking easier, but it will never be easy.

    So, we will be seeing those ballsy overtakes on unusual places, mark my words.

  12. McLarenFanJamm
    15th January 2011, 11:25

    I think Prodrive/Aston Martin would be a nice addition to the Grid.

    However, at the moment the main thing stopping new teams from entering is the FIA. We all saw the debacle over the 2010 entries, late decisions costing the new teams valuable time in setting up operations and manufacturing. They should be taking applications for new teams at least 2 years prior to the season they want to start racing. This gives them ample time to go through their painstakingly slow decision process and then gives the new teams time to actually set up a base of manufacturing, attract sponsors etc etc. Then, at least hopefully, we wouldn’t end up with another HRT on the grid.

    Does anyone know if the FIA are even going to ask for entries for new teams in 2013?

    1. Does anyone know if the FIA are even going to ask for entries for new teams in 2013?

      I believe you can submit an application at any time, provided there is an available space on the grid. The current Concorde Agreement allows for thirteen teams; as twelve slots are filled, you or I could submit an application tomorrow if we wanted to.

      1. We might need a new HRT – Hispania Replacement Team!! ;)

      2. Sounds like a plan, anyone else want to put some money in for an f1fanatic team? ;)

    2. Actually I think the real thing stopping teams from entering is, that no one is able to show they have at least some 120 million in their coffers up front to spend on their first 2 seasons in the sport.

  13. The part about the new wing idea I do not like as defensive driving is or should be a racing drivers skill.
    This wing idea blows that skill out of the water.
    It is artificially manufactured racing.

    1. With regard to “defensive driving”. Weaving all over the track is no longer regarded as a “skill” (probably never was), and there are rules that prohibit the movement of a car that is defending its position.

      Driving your car to get to within one second of the car in front, is still regarded as a “skill” IIRC. Even if that “skill” is down to the cars entire team and not just the driver. And we do get reminded quite often that this is indeed a “team” sport.

      1. The rules do allow for one defensive move, and judging when to move is the skill.

  14. Those pictures of the Toyota crew testing Pirellis in Bahrain are great.

    That car looks fantastic without any paint, just plain carbon. Thanks for posting that link.

  15. I hope you’ll be in contact with Codemasters to get some info on that F1 online game / platform Keith.

    It might be great, them bringing in new updates to reflect the developments in season etc.

  16. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    16th January 2011, 1:39

    I don’t know know if the rumors of VW entering a F1car in the future are gone, I think there was going to be under Porsche’s name. If that’s the case, The budget and sponsor they would bring into F1 are for sure bigger than Prodrive. And 2013 sounds promising for big companies. I heard (or read on this very webpage) about Honda or Toyota trying it again; well, Toyota should think twice if they want to be on this again. They had big money and never got a win.

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