Details on Apax/Prodrive deal
Prodrive and its boss Dave Richards are set to enter F1, with the aid of venture capitalists Apax. Richards is believed to have sold a 49% stake in the company. Richards would, however, have to buy an existing team, as Toyota is believed to have secured the 12th slot on the grid.
According to The Sunday Telegraph, Apax is refusing to comment on the size of the deal with Prodrive, but does reveal that a further £200m is available for motorsport related activities. Apax is planning to become a major motor sport group. The deal involves Apax and a corporate finance group called Pall Mall Capital Partners. This is run by Nicky Samengo-Turner whose family ran the Lola F1 team.
Wirth resigns from Benetton
Nick Wirth has resigned from Benetton, according to Agence France Presse. He is reported to have cited differences with the team bosses over future developments with the car. Tim Densham, ex of Honda, will replace him.
2000 testing underway
Testing for the 2000 season is soon to be underway, with McLaren and Jordan going to Jerez from December 1-3rd. McLaren are taking Coulthard and Panis to test new components for the MP4/15, whilst Jordan are taking Jarno Trulli to test.
Prost are also expected to go, and take Alesi and Heidfeld to the track. BAR will not attend that test, as they are still integrating the Honda engine to their chassis. Sauber are expected to test at Barcelona from 9th December.
-- Stephen M Baines http://www.motorsport.org.uk