Troubled waters for Prost Grand Prix

A meeting is taking place today (Friday) that could see Prost taking drastic steps to ensure the financial survival of his Grand Prix team. Rumours are circulating in France that Prost Grand Prix is on the verge of filing for bankruptcy...

A meeting is taking place today (Friday) that could see Prost taking drastic steps to ensure the financial survival of his Grand Prix team. Rumours are circulating in France that Prost Grand Prix is on the verge of filing for bankruptcy protection, although the stories have been denied by the team. The organization is to hold a staff meeting after which it is expected more information will be available as to what is going to happen next.

French financial newspaper Les Echos is reporting that Prost has only $52m in budget for the coming season and needs to pay $38m to Ferrari in advance for engines. The engine bill seems rather excessive given the generally accepted figure in the F1 paddock of around $25m so the reports should be treated with care.

Les Echoes suggests that Prost is considering filing for "redressement judicaire" - similar to United States' Chapter 11 bankruptcy. This will protect the four-time World Champion's assets and give him time to provide a plan to repay moneys owed. This would create the possibility of someone coming in to buy the team's assets and starting a new team. This is a temporary measure, though, and the courts may eventually insist on selling some of the team's assets.

Prost's financial plight has filled numerous column inches in the past months, and Pedro Diniz - who bought a 40% stake in the team in November last year - has recently confirmed his departure from the team. The buying power of Diniz's father, supermarket magnate Abilio, has gone with him, which is undoubtedly a major blow to Prost.

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Pedro Diniz
Teams Ferrari