Prodrive and the Ferrari four

David Richards, ProdriveJust what does David Richard have lined up for Prodrive? He is supposed to be giving some details of his plans at the British Grand Prix in two weekends’ time.

Richards hit the news earlier this year by fronting a consortium that purchased Aston Martin from Ford. But there’s been little news of his putative F1 team since he successfully bid for the 12th slot on the grid last year.

Meanwhile, Ross Brawn is looking for employment and so might a couple of his Ferrari colleagues…

One blogger I read today suggested four of the former Ferrari bigwigs might be after a new project. Those would be Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne, Michael Schumacher and Nigel Stepney.

Brawn, certainly, is believed to be on sabbatical and I could see him going to another team. Following last week’s revelation I’m sure Stepney could too.

Byrne and Schumacher I’m not so sure about. Schumacher seems wedded to Ferrari – unless somewhere within him he harbours a secret desire to go racing again. Byrne has gradually eased himself out of his Ferrari capacity.

This is all speculation attempting to fill the void of knowledge that surrounds Prodrive. But I’m sure Richards knows from his two tenures at the helm of F1 teams that you need experienced people to succeed, you need F1 people, and they don’t grow on trees.

Prodrive have been linked to a supply of McLaren chassis (legal under the 2008 rules) and Mercedes engines.

Imagine a team that boasted the ownership of Richards, managerial cunning of Brawn, stewardship of Stepney, and a 2008-spec Mercedes engine in a McLaren MP4-22 (minimum) chassis. Wouldn’t that be a competitive proposition?

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13 comments on Prodrive and the Ferrari four

  1. add some good drivers and team like that may be a serious competitor even for McLaren. A bit flawed new McLaren car for 2008 and we may see McLaren being beaten by their B team running on low budget. Would McLaren want something like that ? They can see now it could happen (Aguri vs Honda) … Why would McLaren be interested in creating a formidable competitor ? Apparently they are talking with Richards and some sort of deal is on the cards, but what will not be announced may be more interesting than what will be …

  2. Number 38 said on 26th June 2007, 5:16

    Hello milos …… concerning your posting above: “add some good drivers ….” how about naming names!

  3. Names? Well, the standard rumor is that the Ronster will make his test drivers part of the deal, which would mean Pedro de la Rosa and Gary Paffett. Now, I know you like de la Rosa, Number 38, and I think Paffett is a Hamilton-like talent waiting to be discovered, so that could be a formidable team…

  4. I did not have any particular names in mind, but yes, Paffet and de la Rosa are pretty much on cards if McLaren deal goes on. But you also have Sutil who is talent stuck in the slowest car on the grid. And there will be others who would not mind swicthing to team with competitve car…

  5. Number 38 said on 26th June 2007, 15:10

    Based on these two remarks it looks like a fore-gone conclusion that Richards is going to buy a McLaren “B” team but I question if Ron Dennis will give up BOTH his alternate drivers.
    DeLaRosa is a favorite of mine, a skilled driver who just got passed over time and time again.
    Signing on as a test driver is a death knell for most, so few testers ever earn a full time drive. Davidson is an exception although he had to “step down” to get a full time seat. I think Christian Klien is a talent that may have got buried, say what you like, he was improving but Red Bull is over-weight with wannabees. He got pushed out for Webber, a great move that was! I guess test driver for Honda is better than standing in line at the employment exchange, but he’ll soon be forgotten (like DeLaRosa) and we the people will have to put up with all the no talent kids of former champions. So…….Prodrive….. I see McLaren holding DeLaRosa as their tester, Paffet may get the seat but that still leaves a race seat and a test seat open. If I were Dave Richards…..I think I’d prefer to have at least one EXPERIENCED driver to establish a base line, and I’m not so foolish as to think Alonso is going to depart McLaren but……Fisichella, Coulthard, Barrichello, snear if you wish but they could offer some much needed maturity to a new team. Don’t like my offerings…….I’m waiting for yours.

  6. I dare say Button wouldn’t mind having a go in a Prodrive McLaren too… ;)

  7. DC wouldn’t be a bad choice for any up and coming team, but it may be he feels he has already done the same job with Red Bull so should stay there to reap the benefits.

    I’m not sure I can see Michael Schumacher leaving Ferrari for another team – unless Prodrive end up with an Italian chassis instead of a British one!

  8. I remember Dave Richards saying that british drivers will be his priority as his goal in WRC was also to make a british driver champion.So firstly,that driver could be Gary Paffett.I doubt Mclaren would miss him,he spends most of his time in DTM anyways.

    But another driver that has been on my mind is Mike Conway.He isn’t having such a good season in GP2 but he did beat team-mate Bruno Senna in British F3 and won the Macau GP.Plus he is british!Only problem is that he is currently under Honda’s wings.

    As for Jenson,correct me if I am wrong but didn’t Jenson sign a 5-year contract at the end of 2005?Quite a lot was made about it back then.I think it was 88 million $ for the five years.Sure,he has attempted abandoning teams in the middle of the season but still will Honda just let him go like that?

  9. Sure, Button is contracted to Honda for a while yet – but that doesn’t mean much in F1 these days. Just ask Jacques Villeneuve. And, if the FA107 carries on underperforming for the rest of the year, both parties might be glad to see the back of each other.

  10. Number 38 said on 27th June 2007, 8:06

    Well, I asked for names……
    THANKS friends. I didn’t even mention Button as I think he’s pretty well tied up at Honda, more so than Barrichello and Klien. I did mention Coulthard but he’s likely only got a year left and I’m sure would like to go out helping Red Bull. Fisichella……that poor boy is in the same fix Button is in…..it’s the CAR ! But I’m afraid we the people are tired of him and the media will blame him for Renault’s poor showing and he’ll quietly fade away …… UNLESS ….. Kovalainen doesn’t improve. Old Flav is going to have a BIG decision to make …. that stinky little brat Piquet, Jr. will want his turn but will Briatore toss the BETTER of his current line-up or the lesser? ProDrive could do worse than Fisi. They could sign Conway …… nice guy but where’s the EXPERIENCE?
    This is all SPECULATION, the game that never ends.

  11. Number 38 said on 27th June 2007, 8:29

    If ProDrive do buy McLaren Mercedes-Benz cars …… maybe Heidfeld could slot in without making many waves. Two years at BMW….they’re through with him and of couse that little twerp that sat in for Kubica…..you know every team wants “young guns” to keep the ignorant interested. The flaw in all this discussion is an EXPERIENCED driver makes sense but when did a Team Principal ever make sense? The driver is just part of a PR campaign. Winning the Constructors Championship is near meaningless. If McLaren WINS the championship is that really going to boost sales of their supercars? If Renault finish 4th is that going to be the end of Renault road cars? Championship results don’t carry much weight, it’s more the on-going rant all season long that keeps their names in the headlines that has more “value”. Heidfeld at ProDrive?
    He’s got enough of a following to be effective at PR events!

  12. Shhhh, Number 38, don’t tell the manufacturers that – if they ever find out that the only reason for their being in F1 is a load of BS, they’ll be outa the game in no time. And then where will Mighty Max and Bountiful Bernie be?

    As for Heidfeld being kicked out of BMW, can Theissen really be that stupid? Nick has been the their best bet in every race this season and does not look like being overtaken by any of the hotshoes lining up for a race seat. In my opinion, he’ll keep Nick and put Vettel in Kubica’s place…

  13. I don’t think Vettel will get to race a BMW on a permanent basis ever. Red Bull has the long-term part of his contract, and it is entirely possible that they might buy out his 2008 BMW test contract to put him in a Toro Rosso, especially if they can’t get Bordais in one of their cars.

    As for Prodrive, much as David Richards may want to put British drivers in, his ability to do so is largely dependent on who his chassis/engine supplier is/are. If it’s the McLaren/Mercedes combination, he’ll be happy, because I’m sure Gary Paffet can be sent in his direction. If not, then it’s a bit difficult for me to comment, since it’s not clear who might be considered available until the manufacturers have made their mind up who will be on their respective works teams. Prodrive could easily be one of the last three teams to announce their driver line-up.

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