The more things change, the more they stay the same for some people. During Subaru’s dying days in the WRC, Prodrive was the subject of much criticism in how they performed and worked with the Japanese marque. While the prospect of Prodrive leading the BMW backed MINI was almost too good to be true, a major mistake has occurred and MINI are not in the 2012 championship fight at the moment.
19 Dec 2011 was the final day for teams to register. This date was presented by the FiA after CSI collapsed and went into administration in the UK. It was expected that all of the teams would register slightly before or on that day. That failed to happen for the WRC’s newest team and the whole effort has taken a credibility hit for this mismanagement.
BMW has confirmed the cars will arrive for Monte Carlo and beyond. There are rumblings that things may not be 100% with Prodrive, but the manufacturer is working with the British based company and just ran out of time.
I think this is an embarrassment to be honest. The team has shown amazing potential and were slated for the full 2012 program. I have no doubt in my mind the FiA will allow MINI in the championship hunt. The WRC has a new manufacturer ready to challenge, they will bend the rules for the “new” kids on the block as their participation is crucial. I hope this is not a sign of things to come out of Prodrive going forward though. Hard to believe that a championship caliber team like that can make such a massive mistake!
Just to underscore, the MINI program is not in jeopardy of going away, they have just hit a very embarrassing speed bump.