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And the 12th team for 2008 is… 28 Apr 2006

David Richards (GBR) BAR Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, European Grand Prix, Nurburgring, Germany, Practice, 28 May 2004

…Prodrive. Former BAR team boss David Richards is set to return to the Formula One grid after it was confirmed on Friday that his Prodrive motorsport group have had their entry for the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship accepted. Prodrive will join the existing 11 teams, all of whom have retained their places in the series.

“This is wonderful news for everyone in the company,” Prodrive chairman, Richards, told the group’s official website. “We have won World Rally Championships, British Touring Car titles and the GT1 class at Le Mans, and have been saying for some time that we would also like to be in Formula One with our own Prodrive team. We are now one step closer.”

Prodrive’s previous Formula One involvement with BAR spanned the 2002, 2003 and 2004 seasons, during which time they managed the team, taking them to second place in the constructors’ championship in their final year, prior to Honda’s takeover. Richards was also team principal for the Benetton’s Formula One squad back in 1998.

Prodrive are currently awaiting planning permission for a new purpose-built facility in Warwickshire in the UK where they plan to house their Formula One operation. Should that permission be granted, the group intend to commence construction at the end of this year. In the meantime, Prodrive will run their Formula One programme from their existing facilities in Banbury.

“An entry is just the beginning,” added Richards. “We now have less than two years to build a team and put two competitive cars on the starting grid for the first race of the 2008 championship. The task is enormous and the expertise and experience of the established teams well recognised. However, Prodrive has more than 20 years of motorsport experience and all of us relish a challenge.”

Formula One racing’s governing body, the FIA, is introducing new regulations for the 2008 season, designed to make the sport cheaper and more accessible to smaller teams. This prompted no less than 22 entries for the 2008 championship, with Trevor Carlin’s Carlin’s Carlin Motorsport and former Minardi boss Paul Stoddart among those to miss out.

“We are confident that the new regulations will not only allow Prodrive to be competitive on an affordable budget, but will also make Formula One more exciting and, ultimately, even more entertaining for spectators and TV audiences around the world,” concluded Richards.

Since their formation in 1984, Prodrive have won more than 200 international rally and race events, including six World Rally Championship titles, five British Touring Car Championships and a GTS class win at Le Mans in 2003.