In a surprise announcement, the David Richards-owned Prodrive operation has confirmed it will not be lodging an application for entry into the 2011 Formula 1 championship, and will instead continue its focus on the World Rally Championship.

The outfit missed out on the opportunity to join the 2010 grid against the likes of Campos Meta (now known as HRT), Manor GP (now Virgin Racing) and USF1 (now who knows?), who were awarded F1 entries for this year.

"Our current focus is on Prodrive’s return to the World Rally Championship for 2011 and that alone takes significant resources to design and develop a totally new car," said Richards (pictured), the former Benetton and BAR Team Principal, via a statement issued today.

"Taking on the challenge of starting a brand new Formula 1 team – finding necessary funding and developing a car from scratch – is a massive undertaking and is not to be under estimated."

Richards added that he had “expected” the new teams to have encountered their fair share of difficulties in getting their projects off the ground.

"Whilst I have enormous admiration for their efforts, I do not believe that this is an appropriate strategy for Prodrive or Aston Martin to adopt," he added.

David Richards

"I have always made it very clear that the timing for a Prodrive entry would be judged on two criteria: being competitive and it being a financially viable proposition; today, if we were to adopt the strategy of starting a new team, I don’t believe it would be possible to meet these two conditions."

[Original image via F1 Fanatic]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.