Phoenix shot down in flames

The intention of UK finance group Phoenix to enter Formula One after buying assets of Prost Grand Prix has been squashed by Bernie Ecclestone and FIA President Max Mosley. The two F1 supremos have judged that Phoenix have only bought assets and...

The intention of UK finance group Phoenix to enter Formula One after buying assets of Prost Grand Prix has been squashed by Bernie Ecclestone and FIA President Max Mosley. The two F1 supremos have judged that Phoenix have only bought assets and not the Prost team itself and there are major financial and rule constraints that prohibit them taking to the grid.

Phoenix, headed by English businessman Charles Nickerson, had acquired certain components of Prost -- such as the AP05 chassis' and spare parts -- in a deal reputed to be worth E2.8million. The group also purchased rights relating to the Concorde Agreement (which regulates team placings in F1) but as it would not be running as Prost Grand Prix it would have to pay the US$48million new entrant fee to the FIA. Phoenix apparently deliberately missed the deadline to purchase Prost as a whole to avoid inheriting the $30million debt.

"We are waiting for an official communication from the purchasers of the Prost assets but they do appear to have major difficulties if they want to join the grid." Said Mosley.

Arrows' boss Tom Walkinshaw, who's TWR (Tom Walkinshaw Racing) were to be engineering consultants to the new team, had already lined up a supply of V10 engines and was hoping Phoenix would take to the grid for the Malaysian Grand Prix in two weeks time. However it now looks as if the whole deal may be off unless Nickerson is willing to pay the entrance fee.

"He has bought nothing in Formula One," said Ecclestone. "All he has bought is some show cars. He can forget it. He is wasting his time thinking about racing in Malaysia."

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Series AUTOMOTIVE , F1