Prost files for bankruptcy
Prost GP was formally put into receivership in a Versailles Court on Thursday morning. Judge Michel has been appointed as administrator of the company for the next six months.
The French LCI TV station reported that Prost "had informed his 300 staff that it was going to file for bankruptcy for his company on Thursday." The broadcaster stated that Prost is thought to be in debt to the tune of Euro 30m. Alain Prost was reported in L'Equipe as saying "I had a meeting with my staff on Wednesday to outline the situation and the possibilities. There is another meeting on Thursday but I cannot say anything." Hence the team declined to comment further but confirmed that there will be a press conference this afternoon.
This will mark the next stage of a very difficult phase in the career of the four time World Champion, Alain Prost. He started his dream of building a Championship winning team in 1997, and got off to a fairly strong start. But the team has struggled for some time. Rumours about the team being for sale started to circulate in 1999.
The team managed to land a supply of Ferrari engines for the 2001 season, but at a substantial financial cost. In the same year the Diniz family invested, but apparently in a group company, not in the team itself. The relationship between Pedro Diniz and Alain Prost deteriorated, with Diniz apparently offering $1 for the company.
The most recent report from formula1.com exclusive sources is that Philip de Laey in association with the Quebec government is finalising a bid for the team. It is thought that by declaring bankruptcy voluntarily this apparently may give Prost some influence over which party the team gets sold to.
The team's major asset is its claim to part of next year's TV revenues, thought to be $17m. But it is rumoured that some of this may already have been advanced.
It is thought that Alain Prost will not have a major role in the team post sale - rather he will be involved in driver development. If the sale goes through the core team will remain in France and the business side will move to Quebec in order to exploit commercial opportunities in Canada and the United States.
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