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banner Wednesday, 13 March, 2002, 05:09 GMT
Phoenix team barred from F1
Gaston Mazzazane in a Prost at the 2001 Malaysian Grand Prix
Mazzacane raced for Prost in Malaysia last year
Motor racing chiefs have insisted that the company that bought the assets of the Prost team will not be allowed to race in Formula One this season.

The Phoenix Group, headed by businessman Charles Nickerson, had travelled to Malaysia hoping to race in this weekend's Grand Prix.

But the sport's world governing body, FIA, said in a statement that the Phoenix Finance Group had not bought an entry into the championship when they bought some of the assets of the defunct Prost team.

Entries cannot be bought and sold, according to F1's constitution, the Concorde Agreement.


They have two complete cars ready to run
Prost official on the Phoenix team

A Prost official had earlier said: "We are not involved in any way with the project, but we had confirmation from England that they had the green light to fly to Malaysia.

"They took the two AP04s they had acquired from the liquidator with an engine and gearbox.

"They have two complete cars ready to run."

Arrows boss Tom Walkinshaw is providing technical support to Phoenix through his TWR (Tom Walkinshaw Racing) group.

The drivers were believed to be Argentina's Gaston Mazzacane, who competed for Prost last year, and Brazil's Tarso Marques, who raced for the Minardi team for most of last season.

Benefits

It is thought likely that Phoenix went to Malaysia in an attempt to claim its rights to Prost's benefits - prize money, funds from the sale of television rights and F1's travel fund.

However, the FIA's view is that a team forfeit their rights to their benefits if they do not turn up at a Grand Prix as a result of being bankrupt.


He is wasting his time thinking about racing in Malaysia
Bernie Ecclestone
F1 boss

And tyre companies Bridgestone and Michelin have both said that they would not be able to supply an extra team in Malaysia, although Bridgestone has not ruled it out for later in the season.

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has said that the team have no entitlement to race this year.

Ecclestone told The Times newspaper last week: "He [Nickerson] has bought nothing in Formula One. All he has bought is some show-off cars.

"He can forget it. He is wasting his time thinking about racing in Malaysia."

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC motor racing correspondent Jonathan Legard
"It may take a costly legal action to resolve this"
See also:

05 Mar 02 |  Formula One
New F1 entry dismissed
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