Richards set for F1 return as Prodrive win 12th slot

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The Independent Online

The Prodrive chief executive, David Richards, is set to return to Formula One in 2008, after the sport's international governing body, the FIA, announced yesterday that his team have been granted the 12th place on the grid. They will join Sauber-BMW, Honda, Midland-Toyota, Red Bull Racing, Renault, Ferrari, Super Aguri-Honda, Scuderia Toro Rosso-Cosworth, Toyota, McLaren-Mercedes, and Williams-Cosworth.

The FIA president, Max Mosley, said: "Prodrive have the best combination of financial backing, technical capability and motor sport experience and are well known to the FIA through their participation in the World Rally Championship. Also, Prodrive's chief executive, David Richards, has experience as a Formula One team principal."

Richards was the team principal of Renault in 1998, and BAR-Honda from 2002 to 2004.

Mosley added that the 12-team limit was imposed because of safety considerations and that circuit facilities are now designed for that number. "It would be very difficult to enlarge the facilities and we would also have to look carefully at the safety issue. The number is unlikely to increase."

Elsewhere, Damon Hill has been elected as the new president of the British Racing Drivers' Club, who own Silverstone. The 1996 F1 champion was voted in as successor to Sir Jackie Stewart at the BRDC's annual general meeting at Silverstone yesterday.

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