Following months of speculation, Prodrive has finally conceded its ambition to enter Formula 1 in 2008 has failed to get off the starting grid, confirming there will remain just eleven teams in the sport next year.

According to Canadian sports website TSN, the Banbury-based outfit's chairman David Richards admitted to German publication Auto Motor und Sport that Prodrive's plans to break into the top flight as F1's twelfth team have been put indefinitely on hold, until a new Concorde Agreement is finalised and agreed upon. The current agreement is due to expire on 31 December, 2007.

"We asked the FIA to be able to start midway through the season," Richards is quoted as having told the magazine, "and our request was rejected, so for 2008 there is not a realistic chance of there being a Prodrive F1 team."

Prodrive - already heavily involved in world rallying, touring cars and sportscars for more than two decades - was picked from almost two dozen applications to be F1's twelfth team back in April this year, with Richards making no secret of the fact he intended to take advantage of new rules allowing the use of customer cars, to avoid having to build everything from scratch. A new ?200 million, 200-acre motorsport complex nicknamed 'The Fulcrum' has been planned for the outfit's second base near Warwick.

Prodrive was expected to tie up a chassis and engine deal with McLaren until several teams - most prominently Williams and Spyker (now Force India) - challenged the eligibility of customer cars under the present Concorde Agreement, constraining Richards to put any further progression on hold until a new ruling is made.

"Our ambition is still to be in F1," he asserted. "There was the risk of legal procedures because we wanted to use a customer car. As a result, our entire business plan was put into doubt, so we have chosen to re-group instead of simply race ahead blindly.

"We must wait for the new Concorde - only then can we fully assess our options."



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