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Page last updated at 10:48 GMT, Thursday, 23 April 2009 11:48 UK

Richards keen on Formula 1 return

Dave Richards
Richards would use Prodrive's Banbury headquarters as a base

Aston Martin chairman Dave Richards is contemplating a return to Formula 1, but only if he can be competitive.

Richards, who has run the Benetton and BAR-Honda F1 teams, almost returned with his Prodrive team last year but is now "ready to press the go button".

"We are very serious about entering Formula 1 in 2010," Richards confirmed.

"But we would want the rules to provide the potential for us to be competitive. We would not want to be in Formula 1 just to make up the numbers."

Motor sport's world governing body, the FIA, is set to confirm at the next meeting of the World Council on 29 April that a budget cap will come into force for next year.

FIA president Max Mosley has proposed a £30m figure, although this week has consulted the teams on whether such a sum is viable.

We are greatly assisted by the extensive preparation work we undertook in 2007 in developing our previous Prodrive Formula 1 project

Dave Richards

And Richards said: "The initial signs coming from the FIA and Formula One Management are very attractive and represent the basis for a real revolution in the sport.

"They hold the promise to return F1 to its fundamental ethos, where success comes to those with the most ingenious engineering and best organisation, not simply those with the biggest budget.

"We are therefore very optimistic, but let's wait and see what the final proposals look like when they are published next week."

Aston Martin are one of the most iconic brands in motoring but two years ago Richards ruled out its involvement in F1, preferring to use the Prodrive motorsport company that he also runs.

However, he had to back down from his plans to join motorsport's top tier in 2008 because of opposition from the grid's biggest teams.

They were against his plan of buying an engine/chassis off the shelf - a so-called "customer car". Their opposition centred on the belief that F1 is more than just a contest between drivers and that teams should develop their own cars.

But the changing economic climate and the raft of measures agreed by the teams and the FIA in December 2008, to help cut the budgets of F1 teams by at least 30% for the 2010 season, has prompted a rethink from Richards.

"On the commercial side we would want a situation where the budget you would need to be competitive would be sensible, especially given the challenging economic conditions we face today," he said.

"And we would expect to see a reasonable return on our investment in the longer term.

"However, we are greatly assisted by the extensive preparation work we undertook in 2007 in developing our previous Prodrive Formula 1 project.


"As a result of this we have a big head start and the project, as well as many of the key personnel, are ready to be switched back on."

Richards would use Prodrive's Banbury headquarters as a base, but whether the team would carry the Aston Martin name remains to be seen.

"It is too early to say at this stage as there are a number of different routes we could go," he added.

"There are many discussions to be had in the coming weeks once the regulations have been published. We will then make a decision."

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see also
Lola ponder return to Formula 1
22 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
F1 unveils cost-cutting blueprint
12 Dec 08 |  Formula 1
The battle to save Formula One
12 Dec 08 |  Formula 1
Cost-cutting plan agreed for F1
10 Dec 08 |  Formula 1
Big teams pledge to remain in F1
06 Dec 08 |  Formula 1
Mosley welcomes F1 cost cuts
12 Dec 08 |  Motorsport
Prodrive signals renewed F1 hopes
17 Dec 08 |  Formula 1
Aston Martin owner rules out F1
13 Mar 07 |  Formula 1

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