Aston Martin could make a shock entrance into the world of Formula One after Company Chairman David Richards revealed Prodrive is undertaking preparations to enter the sport next season.
Speaking to Autosport, Richards said the FIAâ€™s new cost-cutting regulations has prompted Prodrive to seriously consider the possibility of fielding a Formula One team in 2010.
â€œWe are very serious about entering Formula 1 in 2010 providing that it is commercially viable and there is the potential to be fully competitive,â€ he said.
â€œThe initial signs coming out from the FIA and FOM are very attractive and represent the basis for a real revolution in the sport.
â€œThey hold the promise to return Formula 1 to its fundamental ethos, where success comes to those with the most ingenious engineering and best organization not simply those with the biggest budget.â€
The prospect of a Richards-led Prodrive entry has fuelled speculation the team would compete under Aston Martin branding or a rebadged engine - claims the former BAR head (above right) refused to deny.
â€œIt is too early to say at this stage as there are number of different routes we could go. There are many discussions to be had in the coming weeks once the regulations have been published. We will then make a decision,â€ he said.
Richardsâ€™ decision to signal his teamâ€™s intentions comes after Lola stunned the motorsport world with the revelation it is seriously evaluating the feasibility of also applying for a place on the F1 grid.
And like Lola, Richards said he has begun courting Cosworth over a potential engine deal, although he indicated Prodrive is also considering the option of using a current engine supplier in the wake of Brawnâ€™s success with Mercedes.
He said: â€œWe are in discussion with one of the current engine suppliers, as well as Cosworth.
â€œThey are developing plans for a customer Formula 1 engine which offers the prospect of a return to the good old days when you could bolt in a customer DFV off the shelf and win races.â€