Things could hardly have played out worse for Honda. It has poured what surely amounted to billions of dollars for years into its Formula One team with little effect. Then it brought in Ross Brawn, only to withdrew its support from the squad, then it sold the entire operation to Brawn while paying out big bucks to avoid an even bigger severance bill. And only then did Brawn turn the F1 team into a winner. That'd be enough to send some automakers scurrying to get back in the game, but not Honda.
When Ross Brawn took over the artist formerly known as Honda F1, the other Formula 1 teams voted to allow Brawn GP to receive the commercial revenue owed to Honda. That was before Brawn started winning, oh, everything. The reversal came when the FIA declared Brawn an entirely new team and Renault's Flavio Briatore declared Brawn shouldn't get any money -- so Brawn didn't get the twenty million pounds it was expecting.
It's official: Honda has turned over their Formula 1 team to former Team Principal Ross Brawn. Although the terms of the transaction haven't been disclosed, Brawn picks up the whole operation in the sale. While there were suggestions the new team might be named Brackley after the team's HQ locale, it will be eponymously named Brawn GP. Considering the cars feature McLaren-Mercedes powerplants, we weren't surprised when we didn't see the word "Honda" in the name.
The former Honda F1 team has a white knight, and his name is Ross Brawn. The man originally brought in by former team principal Nick Fry to help turn the struggling team around has ended up taking control of it, along with four partners thought to include Fry and financial director Nigel Kerr. Brawn and Fry have been reported to have an equal share in the team, but it will most certainly be run by Brawn.
Richard Branson would like to go racing with his Virgin brand that is known around the world. The withdrawal of Honda from Formula One at the close of 2008 provided a perfect opportunity to pick up all the pieces that are needed on the cheap. But you don't get to be as wealthy as Sir Richard by doing dumb stuff, and Branson is apparently aware of Roger Penske's warning about using racing to make small fortunes out of large ones. Therefore, before he proceeds with taking on the remnants of Honda'
With the start of the 2009 Formula One championship approaching, reports from the motorsport press are suggesting that Honda's F1 team may be starting this season after all. Honda had announced it was withdrawing from the sport after last season, leaving team leaders Nick Fry and Ross Brawn to look for new funding. And if those reports are to be believed, they may have found it. Some of it, anyway.
F1 teams change hands all the time, but when a major manufacturer pulls out of the sport, it's bound to trigger a rumor mill of tsunamic proportions. And that's exactly what's been going on in the motorsport press following Honda's announcement to cancel its F1 program.
Ross Brawn, who joined the Honda F1 team as Technical Director in 2007 after an extremely successful stint across the paddock at Ferrari, has said that the now-ownerless ex-Honda F1 team he manages would like to ink a deal with its Italian competitor for engines to power its Formula 1 racers. Now that Honda has officially pulled its factory support from the program, the team will need a good, reliable powerplant if it has any chance remaining competitive, and Ferrari already supplies engines to
Have you heard the one about the former F1 team that gets bought by the Mexican billionaire? Yeah, well, we heard it, too, and it's completely untrue. Not only has Carlos Slim has not bought Honda, but a spokesman makes clear that "There is no deal for the Honda team. There is neither agreement nor negotiations."
According to La Stampa, Honda F1 has a buyer: Mexican telecom billionaire Carlos Slim Helu. Reports claim he paid the single dollar Honda was asking. He trumped Force India F1 owner Vijay Mallya, who was suspected to want the Honda team only for its tech know-how, and Prodrive's Dave Richards.
Back when Alain Prost ran an F1 team, after jettisoning engines supplied by Mugen-Honda, it was Peugeot that left Jordan to sign up with Prost. Things didn't go well, and Peugeot jumped ship three years later. But it's possible that Peugeot feels it has some unfinished business in F1. Rumor has it that among the folks snooping around Honda's F1 operations is PSA, the parent company of Peugeot/Citroen. Supposedly not as hurt by the downturn as its rivals, and with F1 cost cutting in extra strengt
Rumors yesterday indicated that Honda would be dropping out of Formula 1 for the 2009 season if a buyer wasn't quickly found. Today, CEO Takeo Fukui has made Honda's exit official. As you would imagine, racing at the top rung of motorsports is expensive, and despite the acknowledgment of such from top F1 officials and the growing sentiment that it needs to get cheaper, that's not going to happen in 2009. With global automotive sales, and therefore profits, down by alarming percentages, Honda can
Formula One teams are continuing to develop their KERS hybrid drive systems in preparation for a 2009 season launch. This week, the Honda F1 team wrapped up its 2008 testing allotment at the Jerez track in Spain with a day of running the kinetic energy recovery system. Test driver Alex Wurz seemed to be pleased with the team's progress "Today we ran our KERS system which was a very interesting and promising experience. Every time that we run with KERS, we learn more and start to fully understand
Yesterday we reported that Danica Patrick would test with the Honda F1 team at the end of the season. That report was a false start: Honda F1 CEO Nick Fry said there was no arrangement for Danica to test, and that she and the team have had no contact. However, Fry did say that if she wanted to test, they "would be more than happy to speak to her about it." The original source for the Danica-will-be-testing article was an Austrian newspaper interview with the same Nick Fry, which even included a