Blimey, there’s been some real speculation over the fate of the Honda F1 team since Honda revealed it had decided, for financial reasons, to withdraw from F1 with immediate effect.
We’ve had Prodrive/Aston Martin boss David Richards firmly in the frame, followed closely by a Mexican billionaire called Slim with a Senna in his pocket! But both those, quite reasonable speculations, turned to nothing. Then, in recent weeks, we’ve had Richard Branson sniffing around but, ace publicist that he is, you never know whether his interest is real or he’s jumping on a high profile situation for publicity.
But it now looks clear that a deal has been done, as the ‘Honda’ team have been told to get ready for testing. The BBC are reporting that the team, lead by Ross Brawn and Nick Fry, has been told to prepare for a shakedown at Silverstone shortly, and Barcelona on 9th March. As the BBC’s source reasonably pointed out, that would not be happening unless a deal had been secured.
Which means that the speculation over an engine deal with Mercedes has been concluded, as there would be no point testing without not just a team deal in place, but also an engine deal.
It looks like this is a management buy-out, lead by Team Principal Ross Brawn and Chief Exec Nick Fry. It seems likely they have secured the finance for the team from sponsors, and the man who ensured Williams F1 is on the grid this year, Bernie Ecclestone.
It remains to be seen if the team make it to Melbourne for the first race of the season, but it now seems probable. How competitive they will be remains to be see. Ross Brawn is quoted as saying, at the end of the 2008/2009 season, that he believed Honda would be ‘running in the top 3’ in the 2009/2010 season. But that prediction will need revisiting with the change of engine.
Driver details for the team are not fully confirmed, although assuming everything works out Jenson Button will definitely drive. However, despite previous speculation, it now seems that Bruno Senna will not , and the other seat will be taken by Rubens Barrichello.
Source: BBC Sport
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