F1 »

Prodrive linked to Renault F1 buy-out

David Richards' independent Prodrive operation may have been overlooked for a spot on the 2010 grand prix grid by F1 governing body the FIA - but might it now find a way in through the back door instead via Renault...?
Another name has entered the frame as a potential buyer for Renault's British F1 operation should the French manufacturer elect to go ahead and pull the plug on its top flight participation between now and the end of the year – Prodrive, which insists moreover that it is completely ready to roll.

Yesterday it was claimed that pan-European management organisation Gravity could be interested in purchasing the Oxfordshire-based outfit – potentially via venture capital firm Mangrove [see separate story – click here] – and now it has been reported by French sports newspaper L'Équipe that David Richards' independent engineering concern Prodrive might also be in the running.

The deal would involve the chassis side of the team being sold off – with Renault continuing to supply engines to both Prodrive and Red Bull Racing for at least the next two years – the relocation of the entire Prodrive operation from Banbury to Enstone and the branding of a minor car manufacturer new to F1...possibly, it has been mooted, Aston Martin

The report has been given added credence due to the fact that its author, French journalist Anne Giuntini, is married to Denis Chevrier, the head of Renault F1's engine department until the beginning of this year – and with the car maker's president Carlos Ghosn having delayed a final decision on the marque's commitment to the sport and openly questioned whether F1 will 'be very important for anybody if it doesn't answer some of the concerns that surround [it]', the writing would appear to be on the wall.

“We will make an announcement the day we have something interesting to announce,” a Prodrive spokesperson told L'Équipe. “The truth is that Prodrive, whose candidacy was not accepted by the FIA for 2010, will be ready to take part in F1, on the condition of being able to be competitive and that the company be viable.”

The speculation makes sense for a number of reasons. The well-respected Richards has previous experience of guiding an F1 team and guiding it in impressive fashion, from his stints at Benetton in 1998 and BAR-Honda from 2002 to 2004; the former World Rally Championship (WRC)-winning co-driver knows the Enstone factory well and he was linked with replacing Flavio Briatore in the wake of the 'Singapore-gate' race-fixing scandal earlier this year; 2005 and 2006 aside, Renault has traditionally achieved its most consistent success at the highest level as an engine-supplier rather than as a team – engine and chassis-builder combined – in its own right; and Prodrive has been on the fringes of F1 promotion for a number of years, being passed over by governing body the FIA when the new entrants were announced for 2010 for reasons that remain – publicly at least – not altogether clear.

One person who may be somewhat less thrilled should Prodrive step in, however, would be 1997 F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve – a man eager to return to the field and linked with the Gravity rumours, but one who fell out with Richards at BAR-Honda in 2003 and was replaced before the season was out by Takuma Sato.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
15.07.2006 Magny Cours, France, David Richards (GBR), Owner of Prodrive and David Lapworth (GBR) of Prodrive - Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 11, French Grand Prix, Saturday
Gilles Villeneuve
15.11.2015 - Race, A Ferrari fan
15.11.2015 - Race, Max Verstappen (NED) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR10
15.11.2015 - Race, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W06 waves to the fans
15.11.2015 - Race, Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34 leads Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-30.
15.11.2015 - Race, Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Red Bull Racing RB11 leads Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T
15.11.2015 - Race, Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34
15.11.2015 - Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T
15.11.2015 - Race, Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Red Bull Racing RB11 leads Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W06
15.11.2015 - Race, Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 Team E23
15.11.2015 - Race, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team E23
15.11.2015 - Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-30
15.11.2015 - Race, William Stevens (GBR) Manor Marussia F1 Team and Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sahara Force India F1 VJM08
15.11.2015 - Race, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM08 and Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB11
15.11.2015 - Race, Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams F1 Team FW37
15.11.2015 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-30
15.11.2015 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

Dice - Unregistered

December 03, 2009 4:40 PM

Actually Jason, Dave & Prodrive did alot more than just talk ... ... they submitted a credible entry. The fact that the FIA chose to award entries to other less qualified teams is questionable. In fact Prodrive would have already been in F1, were it not for Williams (obviously a heavily MadMax influenced team) killing the customer car deal that would have seen them enter McLaren built & Mercedes powered cars. Dave is no fool, as can be seen from the success of Subaru, AMR & the Ferrari F550's. He know's what is sustainable / viable, & he knows what isnt. He isnt sentimental about being in F1 at all costs.

Roger Wilson - Unregistered

December 03, 2009 3:43 PM

Obviously Jason you have never met the man or been in his company in the workplace - I have. A better man in this diaster of a F1 world at the moment, one could not find. As for all this being "hot air" I somehow dont think so. They have survived the Subaru saga and the Aston projects have been successful and of course there is the much rumoured Mini WRC project. Vasbyt as we say here in SA

© 1999 - 2015 Crash Media Group | Built by Accelerate Agency

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.