Prodrive in frame for job cuts

By LJ Hutchins

CalendarMonday, January 12th, 2009

 
 

Workers at Prodrive’s Oxfordshire facility could be facing job cuts after the company’s partnership with Subaru and its involvement in the World Rally Championship came to an end in December.

BBC Oxford is reporting that a 90-day redundancy consultation has been launched by the Banbury motorsport firm, headed by former BAR Honda team principal David Richards, and says that more than 180 workers are affected.

Richards has been in the news recently as a prospective buyer for the former Honda F1 team, but eventually he ruled out any further involvement, saying the sport was still too expensive to consider competing in.

Meanwhile Aston Martin, a Warwickshire-based company chaired by Richards which has recently announced 600 job cuts of its own, has confirmed its continued participation in motorsport.

Its chairman said that the company would definitely have a strong presence in sports car racing including an appearance at Le Mans.

* Richards gave an insight into Subaru’s decision to leave rallying during a Q&A session at the Autosport International Show this week which will make interesting reading for all those who, like us, were fans.

While acknowledging the 2010 regulations that would have necessitated the manufacturer producing a completely new road car were undoubtedly a big part of the problem, he also blamed “the dramatic downturn in their sales, plus other problems in their aerospace division as well [which] put them under enormous financial pressures.”

He said: “I am uncertain about [any future return] at the moment, and it is certainly far too early to say that. There is an extraordinary heritage that to me would be rather wasteful to let go. They have built up such good will there, and to most people in following rallying or those who have a passing interest — the blue Subarus are like the red Ferraris are to F1.

“So there is a lot of investment in that that would be wasted if it was left too long to go back to. But you do research on F1 and people still say that John Player Lotus are competing — so there is a latent benefit for many years to come.” Read full article here >>

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