Prodrive, the Banbury-based engineering firm responsible for Subaru's world rallying activities and the P2 concept car (above), has confirmed that it is intending to enter Formula 1 in 2008.
Applications for the 2008 series close today, but Prodrive boss David Richards says the time is right for his firm to step up to the top formula in motorsport. 'F1 is still regarded as the pinnacle of motorsport and therefore a natural next step for Prodrive,' he said. 'We are very much a minnow in comparison to the vehicle manufacturers who currently dominate the sport, but on the basis of the new regulations being proposed by the FIA, we believe the time is now right for us to take the next step.'
Prodrive's entry is not guaranteed, however. Only a certain number of teams can contest the series and as motorsport's governing body, the FIA will decide which are eligible. However, the relatively small scale of Prodrive's plan is likely to appeal to FIA President Max Mosley, who is keen to nurture private teams in the sport at the expense of larger, well-funded manufacturer teams.
Earlier this year, Prodrive revealed plans to develop its testing facility in Warwickshire to cope with an F1 project. But a local residents' group has been formed to fight the proposal.