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Prost’s F1 Team Shut Down

January 28, 2002 GMT

VERSAILLES, France (AP) _ The Formula One team of Alain Prost was ordered closed Monday after it failed to find a sponsor or buyer.

Prost, the driver who dominated the sport in the 1980s and early 1990s, filed for bankruptcy in November, attributing the move to poor results and a bad economic climate. The Prost Grand Prix team has not won a race since it was formed five seasons ago.

``It did not come as a surprise,″ Prost said of the court’s decision. ``It is an acknowledgment of failure, which must be assumed.″

The ruling to liquidate comes less than two months before the opening of the 2002 season, with the Australian Grand Prix on March 3.

Judicial administrator Franck Michel said it was not likely the team could survive.

``It needed significant funds that were immediately available, and above all, a business plan behind these funds,″ he said. ``Those guarantees were missing.″

The team employs about 240 people and is facing debts of $26.6 million.

Prost has cited the withdrawal of several sponsors, including engine-supplier Peugeot, a reason for the company’s financial troubles. He has also said the economic slowdown had made finding new sponsors difficult.

Prost was a world champion four times. He won 51 Formula One races during his career from 1980-93 _ a record until Michael Schumacher won his 52nd race in September.