For what seems like the umpteenth time, David Richards has again been linked with buying into Lotus Renault GP, with reports claiming the Prodrive chairman has the backing of a rich Dutch entrepreneur in his bid to regain control of the team that he led in the late 1990s.
Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf
states that the Enstone-based outfit remains in 'big' financial difficulties, and that Richards – at the helm of the team in its Benetton guise for a single season back in 1998 – is interested in a potential takeover, with the support of billionaire Marcel Boekhoorn, whose son-in-law is GP2 Series front-runner and race-winner Giedo van der Garde.
“I've heard about it, but I do not know what to think of it,” van der Garde's manager Jan Paul ten Hoopen told NUsport
. “I think it is pretty much a mess within that team. Put it this way, it is evident in terms of Lotus Renault [GP] that many things remain unclear. Certainly, if there are any developments, we should see if there are any opportunities for Giedo.”
ten Hoopen – who doubles up as commercial director of Dutch fashion house McGregor, a sponsor of Williams – stressed to De Telegraaf
that 'the real conversations (for finding van der Garde a drive for next season) don't take place until October, or at least [until] after the Italian Grand Prix' – and his 26-year-old client has been mentioned in connection with not only Lotus Renault GP but also Rubens Barrichello's seat at Williams as well as Virgin Racing, with lucrative financial backing to bolster his chances of graduating to the highest level.
“That (F1) is the goal, yes,” former McLaren Young Driver Programme member and Super Aguri and Spyker test-driver van der Garde confessed to NUsport
. “My management is in talks with three teams, so there are possibilities. There is no 'Plan B'. There are some free places, but [F1] is a strange world.”