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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Aston Martin to enter Formula One?

FIA's cost-cutting measures for Formula One, to be put into effect from 2010, are becoming an attractive proposition for many prospective entrants. The latest party to have expressed keen interest is David Richards, chairman of motorsport and engineering specialist Prodrive, which manages all Aston Martin's motorsport activities, such as its Le Mans 24 Hours programme.

Richards, who was the team principal of Benetton and BAR Honda F1, remarked that the initial signs coming out from the FIA were encouraging. "They hold the promise to return Formula One to its fundamental ethos, where success comes to those with the most ingenious engineering and best organisation not simply those with the biggest budget," Richards said. He added that the team was very serious about entering Formula One in 2010 provided it was commercially viable. FIA had recently proposed a drastic cost cuts from next year keeping the budget cap to 30 million pounds.

The Prodrive boss, who is also chairman of Aston Martin, had almost entered a team in Formula One in 2008 and is now waiting for the finalisation of the rules for 2010. "Assuming the new rules are commercially viable and there is the potential to be fully competitive, then we are ready to press the go button. We are assisted in this by the extensive preparation work we undertook in 2007 in developing our previous Prodrive Formula One project," he said.

Ironically, what has provided Richards the boost to enter Formula One has been the pullout of Subaru from theWorld Rally Championship. The Subaru rally team was run by Prodrive. "We would be able to house a new style F1 team (to the cost capped regulations) utilising the space vacated by the rally programme," he said.

When asked whether his team would be named Aston Martin, Richards replied saying that it was yet to be decided.

When asked as to how teams would operate under a 30m pounds budget cap, Richards said that it would be like turning the clock back . "The team will have its engineering divison focused on the chassis side while the engine and gearbox would be sourced from outside suppliers," he said.

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