AUTOSPORT, 20.02.1997


This interview is also available in French!

Was it frustrating waiting for Eddie Jordan to agree to the name change?
For sure it was very frustrating, because without his authorisation we could not make the deal, and all the work we had done before would have been nothing. I really thank him, because he understood also that from the beginning it was also good for Formula 1. We put into the contract the possibility for him to discuss with Peugeot for '98. So nothing is closed. But that does not mean that something is going to happen.

But surely it's not good for you if Peugeot spreads its resources?
If Peugeot decides to have two teams, that means they are going to make a lot of effort and invest a lot of money. It is their decision.

How much of a French national team is this?
It's not a French national team, it's not a political team, it's a private team. It was very important to see that the government was very enthusiastic about this project, especially with a French engine company. They were really interested and they tried to push. But it was more important for us to be private, or else you don't have the control.

Don't you risk damaging your image?
It's part of the challenge too. But on the other side it gives some credibility and some confidence to the partners, because the partners know that I can't lose my money or my image. I'm going to do the best, and it's very good for them. They know that I'm here because I want to run a successful team for a long period.

How long before Prost Grand Prix is a World Championship challenger?
I would never say any date, because there's no way you can tell. What I want is to be competitive as soon as possible, and to be World Champion as soon as possible. I don't know - it's a little bit to soon. But maybe in two or three months time I will say - because we have some good things coming - we can be more competitive sooner. But the target is quite high.

Why not build up a team from scratch?
It was considered. We decided against it for cost reasons, and also timing - we would not have been ready by 1998. A company like Peugeot needs to be within the Concorde Agreement (F1's Constitution).

Will you test the car?
We can never say never. But as for doing the same job as with McLaren last year, no. There's too much to do on the management side. If I do it, it will be for the emotions, the pleasure, and I will drive very slowly.

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