The headline says it all – Ross Brawn has been successful in taking over Honda’s Formula One team, saving the squad and ensuring there will be 10 teams and 20 drivers on the Melbourne grid at the end of the month. While speculation has been rife for the last three or four months, the news that the team has been saved will be welcomed the world over. Ross Brawn has released a statement that explains further and praises the efforts of those involved in the deal.
A statement was made at midnight explaining that Ross Brawn, Benetton and Ferrari’s ex technical director and more recently, Honda’s team principal, has in fact purchased the team outright and renamed the squad Brawn GP. It was also confirmed that Mercedes-Benz, current suppliers of McLaren and Force India, will provide engines to the squad for the 2009 season.
Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello will drive the cars, the Brazilian hinting as much earlier in the week. While this leaves Bruno Senna waiting the wings for another year, the team will able to focus on ensuring their own stability and car development while pairs of capable hands steer the machines throughout the season.
To coincide with the statement, the Brawn GP website went live, although at the domain brawngp.com rather than the brawnracing domains that caught the eye of the media last week. However, it is only natural for companies to purchase competing domains to ensure the brand message remains intact.
The past few months have been extremely challenging for the team but today’s announcement is the very pleasing conclusion to the strenuous efforts that have been made to secure its future. Ross Brawn.
Ross then went on to pay tribute to Honda, the staff at Brackley and also to thank various people, companies and organisations who have helped the sale process and provided support during the past few months.
Firstly, it is a great shame that having worked with Honda Motor Company for so long we can no longer continue together. I would like to thank Honda for the fantastic co-operation and support we have received throughout this process – particularly those members of the senior management who were closely involved with concluding our agreement – and for the faith they have demonstrated in myself and our team.
I would also like to take this opportunity to pay due credit to our staff at Brackley. The levels of motivation and commitment that I have witnessed at the factory deserve the highest praise.
It would be impossible to mention all of the people without whom today’s announcement may not have been possible, however I would like to express particular appreciation for the support we have received from Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, the FIA (Fédération Internationale de L’Automobile), FOM (Formula One Management), FOTA (Formula One Teams Association), BERR (the UK’s Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform), Bridgestone, our other team partners and our many fans the world over.
The journey ahead will be challenging but exciting and we know we can count on their continued enthusiasm for our team and its ambitions. Ross Brawn.
The new car will be shaken down at Silverstone in the very near future and the team are expected to be testing in Barcelona next week as well as a final short run at Jerez just prior to flying the cars out to Australia.
This is, of course, very good news and ends months of agony for fans of the team, the sport and the drivers. It will be very interesting to see exactly how competitive the team can be, having done so little testing since the Brazlilan Grand Prix last November. An interim car was tested in November, but since then no running has taken place. Honda had pretty much given up on 2008 early in the season to concentrate on the 2009 efforts, and Button was particularly hyped at the prospects of the new car.
Let’s hope the car is quick out of the box and Brawn GP can at least keep up with the progress made by other midfield squads.
Image © HondaF1.