Prodrive won’t do Formula 1
The plan had put Prodrive into Formula 1, but the plan has run into a roadblock: a lawsuit.
Prodrive and its managing director, David Richards, has now cancelled plans to move up to Formula 1, taking advantage of rules changes designed to make entry into Formula 1 easier and cheaper for independent teams. The problem seems to be that the people at the FIA simply weren’t thinking when they dreamed up the plan.
The plan would have allowed private entrants to run customer versions of complete cars. But it seems that no one consulted the current entrants.
Williams has threatened legal action if Prodrive is allowed to run customer McLaren-Mercedes next season, as it had planned. And, Formula One czar Bernie Ecclestone has implied that the entire idea was ill-conceived.
Prodrive issued a statement explaining its decision:
“Prodrive has always been committed to competing in Formula 1 with what has become known as a ‘customer car’,” the company said in a statement.
“It has been well known that our entry was made on this basis and that our entire business model was built upon this premise. Over the past 18 months we have put considerable effort into securing an agreement for the supply of cars and engines from McLaren and Mercedes, as well as financial backing from a partner new to the sport.
“It was therefore particularly disappointing to face a last minute legal challenge to our entry, when our plans have been public knowledge for over a year. This legal challenge and continuing delays to the new ‘Concorde Agreement’ represent a fundamental change in circumstances.
“Therefore we must now realistically rule out the possibility of Prodrive being on the grid in 2008.
“It is, however, still our ambition to compete in Formula 1 and we are hopeful that a new ‘Concorde Agreement’ between the FIA, FOA and the teams will provide clarity as to the terms on which this might be possible. When this new agreement is reached, we will be in a position to consider the extent to which we can adapt our plans for participation in the future.”
The failure to reach a new Concorde Agreement has left much of the future of Formula One in doubt, despite the decision of a group of manufacturers to abandon their plan to form their own Formula One-type series.
There is, however, in all of this an obvious failure in leadership by those managing Formula One. It is, in fact, something of a tribute to the allure of the sport that it retains its stature despite the bungling of those in charge of it.
The fiasco involving McLaren and Ferrari over this past season is now superseded by a similar battle involving Ferrari and McLaren, one that increasingly suggests that the ethical standards in the sport were derived from the code book of the Medici’s. That a team as accomplished and professional as Prodrive could end up forced to abandon plans to enter the sport because the rules which would have allowed it step on the rights of current entrants is certainly something that could and should have been anticipated.
The FIA, of course, usually takes the fall for bungling in Formula One, probably deservedly. But the force behind the sport remains Bernie Ecclestone, whose dedication to doing what is best for Bernie has never been in doubt. If Formula One cannot get away from the general notion that it can do whatever it wishes, whenever it wishes, it will remain the parade of the over privileged that it has been for the past decade.
Source: ITV F1