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GP Week : Issue 38
> F1NEWS> Short Straights Prodrive still wants F1 PRODRIVE is still committed to going Formula 1 racing; that’s the loud and clear message from CEO Dave Richards. Prodrive has come close to becoming a Grand Prix team a couple of times recently, first as a 12th team for 2008, which was vetoed thanks to a row over the legality of customers cars, and more recently as a potential buyer for the ex-Honda outfit. But while neither of these materialised, n Ferrari has joined Renault and McLaren in declaring that it will run with KERS units at the Australian Grand Prix. So far only three teams have confirmed they will run the device at the season opening race. n Sebastien Bourdais got his 2009 season off to a great start at the weekend, when he and former French F1 drivers Franck Montagny and Stephane Sarrazin took their Peugeot 908 TDi to second place at the Sebring 12 Hrs, finishing just 20 seconds behind the race- winning Audi R15. n Mark Webber has revealed he not only broke his leg but also fractured his shoulder in his cycling accident at the end of 2008. He described it as a “kick in the nuts,”which thankfully was not one of the multiple injuries he suffered. n F1 World Champion John Surtees has said he believes BrawnGP should not have held onto Jenson Button for 2009 after his lack of commitment in 2008. “I would have replaced him because if you don’t give 100 percent even when the car is not so good, you have to be sacked.” 10 Richards is adamant that F1 is where he wants his team to be, and that the current financial environment might provide the chance. “We looked at the Honda situation very carefully; I personally believe there will be other opportunities like that will crop up in the current environment over the next couple of years,”he told GPWeek during a stop-over at Sunday’s Australian V8 Supercar championship race in Adelaide (Prodrive owns the leading Ford Performace Racing team). “We’ll be sitting there watching quietly to see what those opportunities might be. “I’ve made no bones about it – I see Formula 1 as an opportunity for Prodrive. I see it as somewhere we should be at some point, but, I’m not going to go into like some of the other characters that have done it. We want to make sure it would be financially viable, and we’d be competitive. We wouldn’t be there to make up the numbers, and we wouldn’t be there to lose our shirts.” Richards says that how close Prodrive came to being on the grid last year is proof of the serious nature of his intentions. “We got caught out last time in the political crossfire of Formula 1 with our previous entry,” he added. “We got all the money together; we had the team together, only to find ourselves in a legal battle over a definition in the Concorde agreement.” Richards’comments come days after the FIA announced a radical £30 million budget cap for 2010. However, the Prodrive boss wants a clearer picture on how it will work before he’ll comment on whether it will help his bid to enter Formula 1. “I think there are lots of discussions, so it would be wise to let the dust settle before we see what happens,”he added. “There’s a lot of water to go under the bridge before any of these things happen.” – ANDREW VAN LEEUWEN