Newspapers claim Honda F1 deal done

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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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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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59 comments on “Newspapers claim Honda F1 deal done”

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

    1. I know what you mean!

  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?

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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. I thought Bernie’s money had been rejected…

    1. Yep, Me too…

  6. Mouse_Nightshirt
    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. 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. 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…

    1. “funds from Bernie Ecclestone” – sorry if I interpreted that as money from Bernie Ecclestone!

  10. I still think the new team should be called Tyrrell.

    1. I second that. :)

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

  12. Mussolini's Pet Cat
    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!

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

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

    1. it’s called Brackley F1 according to reports.

    2. How about Brawndo? “It’s got electrolytes!”

    3. lol at these names, and Idiocracy is a must-see movie.

  15. Never believe everything you read in the press ! :)

  16. I’d go for Tyrrell. Or, if Fry is still involved in the buy-out, Brawn & Fry Racing. Or maybe just Brackley F1, then. Boring, but OK.

  17. This is sounding a little complicated but fingers crossed they make it to the grid and last the full year and some…

  18. brawn and fry racing sounds like a cooking oil. funny though!

    1. Or a gourmet coffee shop…

  19. Willthey, won’t they??? Love the circus of the whole thing it definatley been the best off season for a long time!!! From what ive heard Fry has made no investment and he will be only an “employee”. My preffered team name would be Tyrell as well but i think the Brackley F1 name is done. Jensons last chance I think and i hope he can transform that smooth style into some points. Big up to Rubens, I hear he has the second drive.

  20. A Bit of Fry And Brawn?
    Brawn’s Brackley Braves?

    Who knows. They could call it whatever they like at this stage, since it’s obvious that this is going to be the last season of F1.

  21. I just checked out the domain name and

    both registred to a Dominic Stanton.

    It was registred with godaddy today and an advert site just went live in the last few minutes.

    I guess honda f1 should have reserved this name a few days ago if it was to be used. So maybe they will be called something else?

    1. Interesting though, I’m sure I read somewhere else that the url was registered to someone with a foreign sounding name. I suspect that this Dominic Stanton is hoping to make a quick buck out of buying the name and then selling it on at a profit…

  22. Brackly Mercedes. Got a nice ring to it.

    1. Yeah, only problem being that it does somewhat sound like a Dealership not a racing team…

  23. @ colin “the best off season for a long time” , I hadn’t really thought of it until now, but you’re right. Plenty of intrigue, despair and frustration for us all to fill up the winter months with. Has anyone else started to feel that this has become the PR disaster Honda so desperately wanted to avoid? So much has been written about the”loss of face” so important to Japanese businessmen, but doesn’t this now all look like a monumental cock up by them, a failure to act decisively. Surely this outcome could have been arrived at months ago?

    1. Absolutley it is a PR disaster. The worst part for Honda is that, if everything gose well with the FIA in the future, the new wave of cost-cutting measures will allow their competitors to saty in the sport and prosper, and it was all triggered by their sudden and complete withdrawl from the grid.

  24. Good luck to them, we cannot afford to lose any more teams from F1. Having read the article it sounds like Fry may be bowing out. Ross Brawn is taking on a much bigger challenge that even he thought when he signed with Honda F1 in 2007.

  25. As a Honda/Jenson fan I think it’s great the team is being thrown a lifeline. HOWEVER I’m still unsure as to what impact this coming season will have. Honda seem to be quietly confident about their chances this season but still packed it up, so with a new engine/KERS package is this Honda gonna be like a shopping trolley with a wonkey wheel just like the others? :( It would have been altogether better if Honda would have still acted as a supplier for the coming season and seen out what they started.

    1. A lot of people question the engine packaging, but the engines in formula 1 are so similar these days that I doubt it will be as big an issue as it’s made out to be. Red Bull and Torros Rossos manage to mount 2 very differetn engines in their carrs without much hassle…

  26. “I can’t believe it’s not Honda”

    1. Winner!

  27. Enough, either say the team is sold or just shut it down.

  28. 5pm has passed and still no more information. Guess we’ll have to wait until Monday now then, *sigh*.

  29. Any confirmation on what engines will be used?

    LMAO I also vote “I can’t believe it’s not Honda”!

  30. Keith

    There’s an interesting history regarding an internet domain registered by a lawyer named Caroline McGrory (former BAR employee!). She taken two names:


    Here, the data concerning the domain register:


    Registrant: Caroline McGrory
    28 The Hall Close
    Cv22 6NP

    Domain name:

    Created on: 2009-02-25
    Expires on: 2011-02-25

    Administrative contact:
    Easily Limited
    3rd Floor, Prospero House
    241 Borough High Street
    SE1 1GA


    1. Top snooping there Becken! 8-)

    2. Mussolini's Pet Cat
      28th February 2009, 10:45

      um, are you sure it’s a good idea posting someones name address and telephone number on here????

    3. You can find the name and address on a whois look up anyway.

  31. Someone is probably going to make some money out of this – whoever correctly guesses the new name of the team and buys the url first…

  32. I’ve never been a huge fan of Tyrell/BAR/Honda, but I really hope that this goes ahead – it would be great for F1. I’d rather see Rubens than Jenson get the shoo-in seat, but I doubt that that’ll happen…

  33. How about TTFKAH ?

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

    Is this 100% true? Because I would really like to Rubens back.

  35. Great news if it is true, and best wishes to anyone who finds themselves out of a job in the face of the deal.

    After the terribly bland (2006 and 2008) or just plain terrible (2007) paint jobs, gotta wonder what the car will look like once it is ready to go with the sponsorship.

  36. When BAR started, I knew the team wouldn’t continue with that name because of the incoming ciggie advertising restrictions. And I was secretly hoping that the team would morph into a Honda and… Lotus partnership. Totally fanciful, I know, but wouldn’t it be great to see Lotus back?

  37. I do like Rob’s suggestion of “I can’t beleive its not Honda”, but the way the team is going they’d be better off calling themselves “U-turn F1”. Actually “UF1” is not bad, although maybe a little close to USF1. I like Xonda too, but maybe a little too close to Zonda, also gives Honda themselves too much credit.

    But Brackley F1 is the most boring name ever and on no account should be adopted. Surely they can come up with something better than that? Although their livery of the last couple of years seems to suggest otherwise :(

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