FIA president Max Mosley has admitted that there is no guarantee that Prodrive will have a place in Formula 1 for the 2009 season after electing not to join the grid next year.

The team won the race to become F1's twelfth team in 2008 but was forced to shelve its plans following a legal challenge from Williams, which centred around the Banbury-based outfits plan to run a customer McLaren Mercedes package.

Although the rules of the sport were set to be changed to allow customer cars to take to the grid from 2008, a number of teams have yet to sign the new Concorde Agreement which would ratify such a move - something Mosley admitted was leading to some confusion amongst the parties involved.

"The problem is that, at the moment, the 2008 regulations allow people to run customer cars, but a substantial proportion of the teams don't want them," he said in an interview with The Paddock. "But there simply isn't enough money for twelve teams, or even ten teams, to have the sort of R&D budget they need [to be competitive under the current rules].

"It's irrational for them, anyway, to spend the same money researching the same things, which are also secret and irrelevant to the real world. I think the solution is to have much more standardisation and cost-saving on the chassis, but also to have distinguishing features, but not ones costing a king's ransom to develop. We need first to decide what the chassis regulations are going to be, which parts will be homologated and/or standardised. Then we need to look at how different the cars should be from one another.

"There's a huge discussion going on about what it is to be a 'constructor'. The teams seem to meet about this at just about every Grand Prix. As I say, the first item for discussion should be chassis regulations that can offer serious cost-savings. Once we've done that, we can decide what can distinguish one chassis from another, and how much of the car should be unique to each individual team."

Mosley added Prodrive's decision to forego its entry for this season - which will see them lose the 300,000 Euro deposit they put down to secure a place on the grid - could also see them miss out in 2009, with no guarantee that the FIA would accept a future entry.

"There's nothing to stop them entering for 2009," he said. "At the request of his financial backers, David [Richards] asked me what guarantee could we give that his entry would be accepted in 2009. I had to tell him that he didn't have any guarantee.

"In the normal course of events, Prodrive's entry would be accepted [again], but the situation without the Concorde Agreement is as it was before the Concorde Agreement - people submit entries, and the FIA accepts or rejects them.

"They couldn't say anything about the goalposts moving. They entered under the regulations, and they entered for one year. They've paid the EUR300,000, and they'll probably lose that. But that's probably it. I don't think anybody is going to go after them. If Prodrive could be there, they would be there, but they haven't got the backing [of all the other teams]."

 

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