JANUARY 16, 2002
Who goes where if Prost closes down?
THERE continue to be suggestions that Alain Prost is going to be forced to close down his Formula 1 team later this week as the proposals he has put forward have not done enough to convince the judicial administrator Franck Michel that the team can survive. There have been reports that none of the offers are very serious and that Prost's last-ditch plan was to miss the 2002 season and try to make a comeback in 2003. In France speculation is rather more optimistic but it remains simply speculation.
For most of the team the closure of Prost would be a disaster but there are a number of high level employees who would almost certainly be able to find jobs elsewhere. The technical team is generally fairly young in age and so more mobile than some others. Technical director Henri Durand has lived for 10 years in Britain while working at McLaren and if Prost does close down he is likely to be snapped up by another team (although it is not clear which team that might be). The team's managing-director is Spain's Joan Villadelprat. He lived in England for 20 years while working with a variety of F1 teams and it is quite possible that he would be welcomed back at Renault Sport, which he ran for Flavio Briatore in the old Benetton days. Also likely to find work in Britain is Sporting Director John Walton, who has worked with a variety of teams in the course of the last 20 years. Whispers suggest that Walton could end up at Minardi as the team is trying to pick up experienced F1 personnel at the moment.
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