There seems to be some confusion on what exactly Prodrive are doing in terms of their rally program as of late. Is it MINI or is it Toyota or is it even Formula 1??? I can assure you as will Prodrive that they are not entering Formula 1. However, the rally program has been thrown into question with rumor that the British firm may be working with Toyota in a return to the WRC. Guess what? Not gonna happen.
There are a number of things that make this a non possibility and the fact that it has hit the web is ridiculous and a little far fetched. Then again which rumor is not? Remember back a few months ago?? Prodrive has been working with MINI (BMW) to get into the championship. There has been issues on funding for engines from the BMW side, but all indications point to the project being on time and ready to go by 2011. Prodrive will not run two factory efforts out of its garages. Well Subaru worked with Prodrive…so why not Toyota? Simple, Subaru does not have the motorsports operation that Toyota still has. Subaru needed a European base for its rally campaign and Prodrive was a good fit given their former rally experience. Toyota has been rallying before and also still has a massive hub in Cologne from where they could launch a works effort in the WRC. Why in their right mind would they hire it out to someone else?
A lot of the controversy seems to be centered around articles where Dave Richards explains the reason why he chose not to be in Formula 1. The reasons are easy and what everybody thought. Why take a gamble on something like F1? No clear rules…no clear technical regulations…no tires at this point either! In the same article, links are then put together after Richards said he would return to the WRC with a major manufacturer. The article uses Richards recent business dealings with Toyota (via his position with Aston Martin) as the basis for this rumor. Here is the bottom line, the Toyota outfit in Cologne wants to go rallying. They are however going to work out of their established facilities if it happens and will not use a company like Prodrive to run the operation. Stranger things have happened and I have no problem with foot in mouth but this Toyota thing is a rumor and that is all as far as Prodrive is concerned.