Newspapers claim Honda F1 deal done

Ross Brawn (right) is tipped to lead the former Honda team

Ross Brawn (right) is tipped to lead the former Honda team

Several newspapers this morning are claiming a deal to rescue the Honda F1 team has been done.

According to The Times:

Sources close to the Brackley-based outfit confirmed last night that the deal is going ahead and that the team will conduct a ??shakedown?? test of their new car at Silverstone next Thursday, which will be Button?s first outing in the new machine.

The management buyout is being led by Ross Brawn, the team principal and former Ferrari technical director, and will be funded by a combination of money from Honda itself for this year, funds from Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One commercial rights-holder, and commercial sponsorship. Recent reports suggested that Sir Richard Branson?s Virgin Group could be a backer but this was being ruled out by informed sources last night.

The Daily Telegraph claims the deal has been secured with money from Honda:

It is likely to mean up to 300 jobs lost at their base in Brackley, Northamptonshire, and a pay cut of roughly $7.5million (??5.2million) for British driver Jenson Button.

Chief executive officer Nick Fry, team principal Ross Brawn and three other directors have finally convinced Honda’s board in Tokyo to hand over a sum, believed to be in excess of $100million, to enable the new team to continue racing in 2009 at least. It would have cost the manufacturer roughly the same amount to wind up the company.

Jenson Button is widely tipped to retain his seat and will drive the car at a test next week. One of two Brazilians – Rubens Barrichello or Bruno Senna – will drive alongside him.

Is this really the end of the agonising wait to find a buyer for Honda, over two months since they were put up for sale?

Read more: Honda: a one-off or the first of many?

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59 comments on Newspapers claim Honda F1 deal done

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  1. I wish all this speculation would just end and we’d just get a straight answer. Preferably from the team themselves!

  2. Lets all hope Ross Brawn pulls it off ! If anyone in F1 can, he can. Got more clout than 99% of all the rest. Major stumbling block appears to be……

    …..the concept of a management buyout being very hard for the business culture in Japan to get it’s head around. They just don’t do that sort of thing there.
    Almost considered an affront to good manners !
    And in these extraordinary times ALL Japanese businesses are running scared of their ultra-conservative shareholders.

    That’s why it’s all been like pulling teeth out !

  3. But; if Honda itself is provding money, then what exactly is changing in the Honda team then?

    Won’t honda still remain owners of the team? Or will it be Ross Brawn who will be the owner?

    • fiddler said on 1st March 2009, 18:39

      Nick fry is the main man in terms of heading up the operations. Ross is team principal.

      I saw Nick fry in Porsche Silverstone buy an brand new 911 with his Mrs last saturday, to me that spoke volumes.

  4. No apparently they are just handing the cash over – same as if they were going to shut it down – they’d have to compensate all the staff – including button’s expensive contract.

    They’re basically compensating all the staff – but rather pay staff they are handing the cash over to the ‘Brackley f1′ team so they have funds to go racing.

    All good news that they’ll be on the grid, along with the potential return of rubens since bruno is now in DTM apparently.

    Sounds as if Nick and Ross have pooled their cash and bought it out, will be interesting to know more and to see what sponsors they can get on board.

    Will also be interesting to see how developed their car is.

    • Adrian said on 27th February 2009, 10:15

      Well, when you look at Red Bull’s car (granted an Adrian Newey creation) the extra time on the drawing board doesn’t seem to have had a detrimental effect…

      And you have to assume that Brackley F1 or whatever they end up being called will have been looking at other cars and taking design cues from them (hopefully not Renault’s nose).

      I wouldn’t be at all suprised to see a Williams style diffuser on the rear of the RA109. Can’t wait to see the car – it must be the most eqgerly anticipated car of the lot, it will likely be pictured in more newspapers and on more news websites than any of the other launches…that can’t be bad news for potential sponsors.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 28th February 2009, 10:45

      Please, no more of up-and-coming single seater racers getting sidetracked into the DTM. First Di Resta and Jarvis, now Senna? These guys should all be in GP2.

  5. Alastair said on 27th February 2009, 10:39

    I thought Bernie’s money had been rejected…

  6. Mouse_Nightshirt said on 27th February 2009, 10:49

    At least if it’s Brackley F1, it’s a sensible sounding name rather than the spate of stupidity we’ve had recently. I’m sorry, but Force India, USF1 and Super Aguri are a bit excessive.

  7. Good for YOU HONDA!(Brackley F1) I keep my fingers crossed.

  8. S Hughes said on 27th February 2009, 11:01

    I don’t think it’s a good idea Bernie’s money being involved – he shouldn’t be involved with any particular team. Glad to see Button’s salary more in keeping with his worth.

  9. Adrian said on 27th February 2009, 11:27

    I don’t think anyone is implying that Bernie’s own money is involved, merely that he has done the same as he has done already for Williams in forwarding them some TV revenue etc…

  10. ajokay said on 27th February 2009, 11:56

    I still think the new team should be called Tyrrell.

  11. is it worth going to a “shakedown” test or will they do 2 laps and pack up?

  12. Mussolini's Pet Cat said on 27th February 2009, 12:21

    Fingers crossed this happens. One thing of note though, Button has apparently taken a 50% pay cut to about £5m, but there looks like about 300 members of staff are going to get the ‘boot’. Come on Jenson, how much of that 5 mil do you need? How about you do the decent thing and ‘only’ take home 3 mil and let those other people keep their jobs, after all, you’re nothing without them!

    • Adrian said on 27th February 2009, 12:35

      Yeah, plus you won’t have to drive a Civic Hybrid any more and can go buy yourself a real car…

    • Adrian said on 27th February 2009, 12:37

      Though upon doing some maths even that wouldn’t save many jobs.

      I don’t know what the staff get but even if we take a somewhat low estimate of £25k, £2mill would only pay 80 staff members…

  13. What if the team is called “Ross Brawn Racing”, RBR for short?

  14. D Winn said on 27th February 2009, 12:51

    Keith, what about a little name competition for ‘the team formerly know as’
    i.e.
    Hondax F1
    Xonda F1
    Bronda F1

  15. D Winn said on 27th February 2009, 13:00

    Never believe everything you read in the press ! :)

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