Honda / BAR has never been the same since David Richards left. He turned the team around and made them move forwards but he wasn’t given enough time to see what he’d done come to fruition. The same is true of his time at Renault. When he was there he had even less time to see what he had done.
But with Prodrive he’ll be his own boss and won’t suddenly get ousted mid season.
If you were Dave Richards and you were looking for some employees, wouldn’t you try and find say for example a disgruntled technical director that you’d liked and had really got on with from your Honda / BAR days like Geoff Willis? And wouldn’t you go and find a former Renault Technical Director Mike Gascoine who also is out of a job recently and looking for direction, he worked with Dave Richards at Renault (not sure how they got on).
The reduction in form in Honda came one year after Richards left, so basically a really good car was designed under his direction and then after he left the good car he’d built flattered his successors.
So Prodrive won’t join F1 until 2008 but he’ll be needing his technical people in place as soon as he can get them. So expect at least one of either Geoff or Mike. If it’s one it’s likely to be Geoff, but it could be both. I think they both know how to get a fast F1 car built for less money than you’d expect. I think maybe the reason both of them have done less well in the last couple of years is because their bosses have been able suddenly to throw money at any problems that they have.
It’s worth noting that all of this might be for naught, because by 2008 although they might have a great car it is also the year that Jenson’s contract will be up for renewal with Honda so Dave might ruin it all by hiring Jenson.