Finally we have news on Honda Racing. It’s taken a fair bit of time, with rumours of various buyouts including a Richard Branson/Virgin takeover, but finally Ross Brawn released a statement at midnight last night to say that the team has reached an agreement to secure its future.
The former Honda team principal has now received full ownership of Honda Racing F1 and has renamed the squad as the Brawn GP Formula One Team. What’s more, both Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello will return as drivers – which has put an end to Bruno Senna’s dreams of racing in F1 in 2009 – and the team has agreed a partnership with Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines to supply the power plant for the first ever Brawn GP car, whose colours are rumoured to be yellow, black and white.
“I am delighted that Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello will form our race driver line-up for the 2009 season,” said Brawn. “The vast experience and knowledge that both drivers bring to our team will prove invaluable as we aim to get up to speed to be ready for the first race of the season in Melbourne on March 29. In what will be their fourth season together, their experience with our team in Brackley, our systems and our engineers will prove a real asset.
“The past few months have been extremely challenging for the team,” Brawn continued. “But today’s announcement is a very pleasing conclusion to the strenuous efforts that have been made to secure its future.”
It certainly is a welcome announcement, not just for Formula 1 fans, but also for the likes of Bernie Ecclestone who was perilously close to the minimum number of cars that contractually he has to field. The fact that Brawn thanked so many people and organisations in the statement goes to show just how much help he has had in getting the Brackley-based team back on the track. “I would like to express particular appreciation for the support we have received from Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, the FIA, FOM, FOTA, (UK business organisation) BERR, Bridgestone, our other team partners and our many fans the world over.”
A very heartfelt congratulations to everyone involved from Motor Sport, and especially myself, as only a matter of six months ago I placed a rather optimistic bet that Honda would be fighting for the World Championship in 2009…