Motor racing: Prost acquires Ligier F1 team

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The Independent Online
Alain Prost, France's former quadruple world champion, has bought Ligier, the Formula One team, after he agreed a contract with Peugeot to use its engines from 1998. The deal was struck after Eddie Jordan, whose team have a contract with Peugeot, gave up his agreement. The new set-up, which will be named after Prost, will be unveiled officially today.

Max Mosley, the head of the sport's governing body, the FIA, and Bernie Ecclestone, the vice-chairman, were both keen to see the team line up on the grid for the first grand prix of the season in Australia in March.

The team will bear the name Prost-Mugen-Honda for the 1997 season until the Peugeot agreement begins at the start of the following year. However, Jordan, realising that a Ligier team headed by Prost, 41, would be a threat to a new contract with Peugeot, held out, despite all the other teams having given their assent to Prost's acquisition, which required a unanimous vote for the change to go ahead.

Prost's compatriot Olivier Panis, the winner of last season's Monaco Grand Prix, and Shinji Nakano, of Japan, will be the team's drivers next season.

Peugeot have supplied engines to Jordan for the past three years, gaining their best result when Rubens Barrichello, of Brazil, and Eddie Irvine finished second and third respectively in the 1995 Canadian Grand Prix.