Sunday, November 25, 2007

Prodrive off the Grid

With the prolonged wrangling over the Customer Car issue of Formula 1, previous speculation suggested that Prodrive most likely would not take up its place upon the Formula 1 grid in 2008, with its plan for Mclaren “turn key” chassis’s having been put on hold.

Prodrive’s McLaren customer arrangement has faded away, since its now too late for their intended debut “Down Under” next March. Thus Prodrive would be forced to take the “Super Best Friends” approach in order to show up in Melbourne.

Recall that Super Aguri purchased antiquated Arrows chassis in order to secure the intellectual property rights, which enabled the team to go racing in Australia with revamped four year old Arrows. The team then spent the majority of their debut season soldiering about the rear of the grid while scrambling to update the cars into competitive status.

Yet Williams has taken the matter of Prodrive’s planned McLaren customer chassis to court, stating that Prodrive’s intentions for 2008 are in direct violation with the sport.

Although I haven’t heard any news on the court actions involving Williams vs. Prodrive, there does now seem to be speculation on the Team Bosses angling towards compromising to let Scuderia Toro Rosso and Super Aguri race for two seasons with “cloned” race cars. Then in 2010 they would be required to become true Constructors, i.e.; responsible for the entire production of their race cars.

This means that both teams, which most likely may have been sold by then will need to fork out mucho dinero to build/buy the required infrastructure for such manufacturing, although both teams could simply resort to earlier premises.

Yet Prodrive has already paid the $48 million bond required by Emperor Bernardo for any new Formula 1 team’s inclusion to the grid. This was after Prodrive won the coveted 12th and final grid spot earlier this year and has long been rumoured to be paying McLaren $100 million for its supply of turn key chassis.

Yet Prodrive has just announced that it will NOT contest the 2008 season, as their business model for the past 18 months was centered upon Max Mosley’s planned Customer Car formula beginning in 2008, upon the conclusion of the Concorde Agreement. Since it now appears almost certain that this Agreement will be rolled over for a further season, Prodrive has elected to sit out the season while waiting for the matter to be settled…