The FIA has confirmed that David Richards' Prodrive outfit has been accepted as the 12th team entry for the 2008 championship. The sports' governing body received 22 entries for 2008, including former team bosses Paul Stoddart and Eddie Jordan,...
The FIA has confirmed that David Richards' Prodrive outfit has been accepted as the 12th team entry for the 2008 championship. The sports' governing body received 22 entries for 2008, including former team bosses Paul Stoddart and Eddie Jordan, but ex-BAR (now Honda) chief Richards got the nod.
"Prodrive has the best combination of financial backing, technical capability and motor sport experience and is well known to the FIA through its participation in the World Rally Championship," said FIA president Max Mosley. "Also, Prodrive's chief executive, David Richards, has experience as a Formula One team principal."
Mosley confirmed that all of the current 11 teams had submitted entries and an additional 11. Further financial commitment and motorsport experience information was requested from the candidates and a fax vote of the World Motor Sport Council gave Prodrive the 12th entry.
"The World Council concurred that there was no reason not to accept the current teams as they are already in the championship and have confirmed their ability to compete effectively," Mosley added. "Prodrive was chosen mainly because of its financial position, capabilities and experience."
Richards, naturally, was delighted: "This is wonderful news for everyone in the company," he said. "We always wanted to be in Formula One with our own Prodrive team and now we are one step closer. We now have less than two years to build a team and put two competitive cars on the starting grid. The task is enormous but we relish the challenge."
The limit of 12 teams for 2008 was imposed due to circuit facilities and commercial considerations, and the limit is unlikely to increase in the future. "It would be very difficult to enlarge the facilities and we would also have to look very carefully at the safety issue," Mosley said.
Not only Sotddart and Jordan were hopefuls for 2008; reportedly ex-drivers Eddie Irvine and Jean Alesi were on the list, along with former MF1 sporting director Trevor Carlin. Mosley said the unsuccessful applicants could still have a slight chance.
"We informed all the teams that were not successful, although we did not tell them which teams were," he commented. "We asked them to keep in touch in case a vacancy occurred."
Mosley believes the FIA's new rules for 2008 encouraged so many entries. "The 2008 Sporting Regulations have reduced the cost of competing and should improve the sporting spectacle at the same time," he said. "It makes for a very attractive prospect."
2008 entry list
BMW Sauber F1 Team/Sauber BMW
Honda Racing F1 Team/Honda
MF1 Racing/MF1 tba
Red Bull Racing/RBR tba
Mild Seven Renault F1 Team/Renault
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro/Ferrari
Super Aguri F1 Team/Super Aguri Honda
Scuderia Toro Rosso/STR tba
Panasonic Toyota Racing/Toyota
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes/Mercedes
Williams F1 Team/tba