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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