- Title: FRANCE: ALAIN PROST'S FORMULA ONE TEAM HAS BEEN DECLARED BANKRUPT
- Date: 28th January 2002
- Summary: VERSAILLES, FRANCE (JANUARY 28, 2002) AND VARIOUS (FILE) (REUTERS) VERSAILLES, FRANCE (JANUARY 28, 2002) 1. REPORTERS ARRIVING AT COURT BUILDING 2. VERSAILLES COMMERCIAL COURT ENTRANCE 3. ALAIN PROST ARRIVING 4. COURT EXTERIOR PARIS, FRANCE (FILE/RECENT) 5. VARIOUS OF PROST CAR VERSAILLES, FRANCE (JANUARY 28, 2002) 6. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ALAIN PROST SAYS "I am obviously disappointed but I fought as much as I could and very often in this circumstances you fight not only against your enemies but sometimes against people that could be your friends. I've done everything I could but when it coming about money problem and so much money, it's something that you can do." PARIS, FRANCE (JANUAR4 4, 2002) 7. VARIOUS OF PROST EMPLOYERS WITH BANNERS AND FLAGS PROTESTING IN FRONT OF FRENCH INDUSTRY MINISTRY VERSAILLES, FRANCE (JANUARY 28, 2002) 8. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ALAIN PROST SAYS "We knew from the beginning that it would take five years to be competitive. We din't have five years because you need to have a lot of money and stability for five years that we did not have but today the reason why we did not find anything is because the market for teams like us is almost impossible because we have to payt for the engine and we ask to the sponsors quite a lot of money, more or less the same money that the big teams could ask because we are paying the engine. So the budget must be high. We don't have a big credibility because everyone wants to be with the big teams and there is a lot of vision between the big sponsors, the big companies, so to be realistic, the mqrket is not there. That's why we failed. I hope this not going to happen to other teams because it is a championship for big contructors and that's it." 9. EXTERIOR OF COURT MAGNY COURS, FRANCE (FILE, 1991) 10. PROST PUTS ON HELMET AND DRIVES OFF GARAGE 11. PROST DRIVING AROUND CIRCUIT UNKNOWN LOCATION (FILE) 12. ALAIN PROST GIVING INTERVIEW IN ITALIAN 13. VARIOUS OF PROST GOING INTO GARAGE OF LIGIER TEAM VERSAILLES, FRANCE (JANUARY 28, 2002) 14. PROTESTORS WITH GIANT SIZE PROST DURING PROTEST TO SAVE TEAM FROM BAKRUPCY Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 12th February 2002 12:00
- Location: VERSAILLES, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Reuters ID: LVA4V33ID7EGLG9PU2VREW4X9DM4
- Story Text: Alain Prost's Formula One team has been declared
bankrupt in what the former champion consideers it was a
failure for France.
The president of Versailles commercial court told four
times world champion Alain Prost and his lawyers on Monday
(January 28) that he was pronouncing the liquidation of the
The French team was placed into receivership on November
22 because of debts estimated at $ 28 US million dollars.
Despite reports that Prost Grand Prix, launched in 1997,
had recently received bids from a group of Italian investors,
the court found that there were not enough guarantees for the
team to continue.
After leaving court, a resinged Alain Prost said he has
done everything possible to save his team from bankrupcy.
"I am obviously disappointed but I fought as much as I
could and very often in this circumstances you fight not only
against your enemies but sometimes against people that could
be your friends. I've done everything I could but when it
coming about money problem and so much money, it's something
that you can do."
The opening race of the 2002 world championship takes
place in Melbourne on March 3 but Formula One will again have
11 teams since Toyota will be making their Grand Prix debut.
The widely expected court decision leaves Prost's 300
employees out of work while probably clearing the way for
German Heinz-Harald Frentzen, who drove for Prost at the end
of last season, to join Arrows.
Prost had hoped to turn it into a fully French outfit
with a French staff, a French chassis, a French engine and a
French driver. The lack of results and the resulting lack of
resources broke his dream.
"We knew from the beginning that it would take five
years to be competitive.2 he said to reporters after hearing
the decision of the commecial court inVersailles.
"The market for teams like us is almost impossible
because we have to pay for the engine and we ask to the
sponsors quite a lot of money -- more or less the same money
that the big teams could ask..I hope this not going to happen
to other teams because it is a championship for big
contructors and that's it."
The announcement of Prost's bankruptcy came the day
after French carmaker Renault trumpeted their return to
of something that men like McLaren team principal Ron Dennis
have known all along.
As a driver, Prost entered 199 grand prix and won 51, a
record only surpassed by Michael Schumacher this past season.
As a team, Prost Grand Prix took part in 83 races and won
none, failing to claim even a single pole position.
Prost achieved his ambition of becoming a team boss by
taking over the ailing Ligier team, marking the first step on
what he saw as the path to French motor racing glory.
After a promising start, things went from bad to worse for
the team, who scored no points in 2000 and lost sponsors as
well their engine maker Peugeot.
Last season, with a Ferrari engine, Prost finished ninth
in the constructors world championship with a meagre four
The failure of Alain Prost's team is further proof that
the big money world of Formula one is an unforgiving place in
which the talents that got a driver to the top are not enough.
Following are facts and figures about the Prost Formula One
team which was declared bankrupt on Monday:
Based: Guyancourt, France.
Team principal: Alain Prost.
The team went through five drivers in 2001 after starting
the season with Frenchman Jean Alesi and Argentine Gaston
The under-performing Mazzacane was replaced after four
races by Brazilian Luciano Burti.
Alesi left in August to join Jordan after that team
dismissed Germany's Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Frentzen took
Alesi's place. Burti was then substituted for
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