There was talk yesterday morning of a possible bail-out for the Honda team by the British government, sparked initially by a story in The Guardian newspaper. Although the suggestion has since been denied by those concerned at Brackley, the thought of a government helping an ailing Formula One team has fueled an interesting debate around the blogs. Most want to see Honda continue, but very few are in favour of taxpayers money being used.
The rumoured Honda deal would have seen the squad receive a share of a £2.3 billion bail-out loan for the motor industry. The team have qualified for such a share by meeting four criteria; turnover in excess of £25 million, being innovative, reducing carbon emissions and of course, creating jobs.
Initially, Honda remained silent on the speculation but later confirmed that while they have spoken with BERR, the discussions were not centred on any possible loans from the government. Instead, the talks were apparently about the progress being made with finding a new buyer and how this affects the 700 staff employed by Honda’s Formula One operation and associated departments.
We have met with BERR on several occasions, to discuss how things are progressing, plus the prospects for the team and their 700 employees.
However, we have not met with them to discuss a bail-out and no discussions have taken place about a government financial bail-out. Honda Spokesperson.
The majority of commenters on F1Fanatic are very much opposed to any bail-out for Honda, the general reaction being one of the taxpayer being forced to see their money poured into the never-ending pit of a very expensive sports team. Although most people want to see the team on the grid in Australia, most people object to paying for it.
I don’t think ex-Honda Racing should be allowed the money either, and I would like to know if they could comply since they aren’t a car maker in the traditional sense, that is making cars to sell for money…
If the government do start supporting them financially, are they going to be helping the other British teams too? DG on F1Fanatic.
Over at Sidepodcast, a similar feeling was voiced…
Sorry but with the needs coming from health care, schools, police, military, and other basic services; Why should the people of Great Britain have to pay because Bernie and Honda had a crappy business model? Dan Brunell on Sidepodcast.
However, with 700 jobs at stake the team is no small, uninspiring business, especially when those employees are highly skilled and for the best part, dedicated. After all, we are being led to believe the RA109 is still being prepared at the factory in case a buyer is found in time.
Perhaps throwing money at the problem is the wrong approach and the beleaguered squad certainly need something more sustainable for the next few years. But with time almost up, is there any other option for those who say they want Honda to continue (albeit with a new owner), but don’t want to have to pay for it?
Image © HondaF1.