Prodrive will now focus on its rallying, rather than on F1
On the same day, both Lola and Prodrive have confirmed that they are not applying for the 13th grid spot for the 2011 Formula 1 season.
Both of these teams had applied for a position for this year, but failed. Prodrive had previously got a place on the 2008 entry list, providing that the FIA could get in a rule allowing customer cars. However, this rule never got through, and Prodrive never raced in F1. While Lola applied last year, they haven’t appeared in F1 since 1997, with the abysmal Mastercard Lola (it was so bad, it never saw a wind tunnel, never mind a race!).
David Richards, who runs Prodrive, 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."
Executive chairman and owner of Lola, Martin Birrane, also spoke today. He said that, despite having designed a car that would have run in 2010, they will not be applying it for the 2011 season:
A 2010 entry under the cost capped and performance balanced
criteria was perfect for Lola. We already have F1 standard
facilities at our headquarters in Huntingdon.
Sadly our well-developed 2010 F1 project, which included a
significant wind tunnel programme, had to be frozen in June
2009. The recently announced applications for 2011 has left
us with insufficient time to prepare for what would be a
quite different programme.
A lot of people complained, when USF1 was unable to make the grid, that teams like Prodrive or Lola would be more suited than the teams that were chosen. I certainly can’t believe how long Prodrive have waited to get into F1, only to be rejected by the FIA on many occasions. While Lola last appeared in F1 with one of the worst cars ever seen, they have a decent racing team in Le Mans, as shown when they had the fastest petrol LMP1 car in Le Mans 2009.
I would have liked to see these teams in F1, but unfortunately this isn’t the case. Now, the probable choice for 2011 is between Epsilon Euskadi and Durango at the moment, but we will have to wait and see who gets picked.