Prodrive has not completely ruled out attempting to break into F1, but chairman David Richards insists that there are other priorities for the company this coming season.
Having seen a technical tie-up with McLaren scotched ahead of 2008, another attempt to join the grid for 2010 rebuffed, and then rescinded a bid for the vacant 13th spot last year [see separate story – click here
], Richards had suggested that he may never step back into an arena he graced during separate spells with Benetton and Honda, but now claims that the dream is merely on hold while other projects take precedence.
The Banbury-based engineering company, which made its name in rallying with Colin McRae, Richard Burns and Subaru amongst others, has recently unveiled plans to return to the WRC with MINI - a debut which is expected in 2011 with Kris Meeke and Dani Sordo at the wheel of the brand's Countryman model - and also has a heavy involvement in sportscar racing thanks to its Aston Martin Racing arm, which will be constructing its own cars this year.
"My priority is very clearly at the moment around Aston Martin at Le Mans and bringing the MINI to the World Rally Championship," Richards told Crash.net
at the 2011 Autosport International show, "but there is an obvious timing-point now when you look at the new [F1] regulations for 2013 and the relevance of those to the car industry and potentially to Aston Martin to think that if we were going to do something, we should seriously have a look at 2013."
F1 is scheduled to introduce a new engine formula in time for the 2013 season, while cost-cutting measures - including the controversial Resource Restriction Agreement - should make the sport more appealing to potential entrants.