Prodrive boss David Richards says the British team is now seriously considering entering Formula 1 in 2010, if the rules are right.
Prodrive, who was already granted the entry a couple of years back, was to become the 12th Formula 1 team at the start of the 2008 season, but the Banbury-based squad decided against joining the sport over the lack of transparency on the use of customers cars. But with the FIA announcing radical new rules, including a proposed budget cap, for the 2010 season, Richards admits it could now be the right time to join F1.
The Prodrive boss says once the rules and the commercial conditions are confirmed, the team is ready to start working on getting on the grid.
"The initial signs coming out from the FIA and FOM are very attractive and represent the basis for a real revolution in the sport," said Richards. "They hold the promise to return Formula 1 to its fundamental ethos, where success comes to those with the most ingenious engineering and best organization 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 published next week.
"Assuming that the new rules are commercially viable and there is the potential to be fully competitive, then we are ready to press the 'go' button.
"We are greatly assisted in this 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 said his team was one of the interested parties in talks with engine supplier Cosworth, but he revealed he is also in discussions with another manufacturer currently competing F1.
"We are in discussion with one of the current engine suppliers, as well as Cosworth," he said. "They are developing plans for a customer Formula 1 engine which offers the prospect of a return to the good old days when you could bolt in a customer DFV off the shelf and win races. This resulted in an era when there was all sorts of innovation on the chassis side. Who can forget the six-wheeler Tyrrell, the ground effect Lotus or even the Brabham fan car. Formula 1 has clearly developed since then but the prospect of being able to be competitive and win with an affordable customer engine is still very compelling."
Richards also suggested it would be possible for his team to enter Formula 1 as Aston Martin, or have its engines badged with the British manufacturer's name.
"It is too early to say at this stage as there are number of different routes we could go. There are many discussions to be had in the coming weeks once the regulations have been published. We will then make a decision," he added.
<A HREF="http://www.racer.com/2009/04/q-and-a-with-david-richards/" target="_new">Q&A with David Richards</a>