After having insisted it could still enter Formula 1 in the future despite seeing its 2008 ambitions torpedoed by the restrictions of the existing Concorde Agreement, Prodrive has now admitted its hopes of entering the top flight at any point in the future are over.

The Banbury-based engineering outfit was awarded the hotly-contested - and now vacant - twelfth spot on the grand prix grid for the forthcoming campaign, but the subsequent row over the legality and eligibility of customer cars saw boss David Richards forced to put his plans on-hold until a new Concorde Agreement was put in place.

'It is still our ambition to compete in Formula 1,' an official Prodrive statement read back in November, 'and we are hopeful that a new Concorde Agreement between the FIA, FOA and the teams will provide clarity as to the terms on which this might be possible.

'When this new agreement is reached, we will be in a position to consider the extent to which we can adapt our plans for participation in the future.'

Now, however, Richards has officially confirmed Prodrive's F1 aspirations are a 'dead duck'. Autocar reports the former Benetton and BAR/Honda team chief as having drawn a line under his company's F1 dream at the Autosport International show, with the new Concorde Agreement making it obligatory for all teams to have constructor support. That, the 55-year-old claimed, would render F1 "too impractical to be competitive" and "not financially viable for smaller teams to enter the sport".

He added that Prodrive would henceforth focus its efforts primarily on the World Rally Championship with Subaru. The five-year-old Impreza has struggled in recent years, and Richards has consequently returned to the hands-on team principal role he filled in the ultra-successful early 1990s in an effort to turn the team's fortunes around.

"When the new car arrives next year," he asserted, "there will be no reason why Subaru can't win the championship."



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