Only of two F1 ready operations will race next year
While there are four new F1 teams being built from the scratch (USF1, Manor, Campos META, Lotus) at least one of two established F1 operations is unlikely to make it to the 2010 grid.
BMW has finally managed to do what they should have done right away – after the failed Qadbak deal they sold the team back to Peter Sauber. The problem is BMW decided not to sign the new Concorde Agreement and the team has lost its entry. Before they made up their mind what to do with the Hinwil operation FIA granted the 13th entry to Lotus … All that Peter Sauber’s team has now is the “14th” entry.
Brawn GP BGP001 - The fastest car out there, for now
When Ross Brawn and Nick Fry were talking up the future of their team following Honda’s withdrawal announcement many people had their doubts. Yes, Honda F1 Racing did sacrifice 2008 season and focused on 2009, yes, they had Ross Brawn at their helm. But over the years we got used to promises and words of high hopes coming out of Brackley whether it was during their BAR or Honda days. Most of the time however delivering on those promises was entirely different matter.
The same day the takeover of Honda F1 by Ross Brawn has been announced Jenson Button took the new Mercedes powered BGP001 to the Silverstone track for shakedown. The team has released some photos – click here to view. The car is rather disappoitingly all white with some touches of black and flourescent yellow. There are some rumours flying around the web that the final livery will be metallic blue with red and white touches but I am not sure based on what those rumours are founded. This is what Ross Brawn had to say when asked about the livery:
Nick Fry resurfaced today in Geneva at the FOTA press conference. And although there is still no official announcement on the future of his team he more less confirmed the team has survived (thanks to FOTA) and that the official announcement is coming soon:
“There is an announcement due shortly… that is all I can say.”
One more season for Rubens Barrichello ?
When it comes to Honda F1 it is still difficult to separate rumours from the real developments. But the news coming out in last few days seem to suggest that:
– the team will be renamed to something close the Brawn Racing
– as expected Jenson Button will drive one of the cars
– as perhaps not that expected Rubens Barrichello will drive the second
GrandPrix.com now claims that “multiple sources” are confirming their reports that the management buyout of Honda Racing F1 has now been agreed and that Ross Brawn and Nick Fry will run the team, using Meredes Benz engines, Honda money – plus the money that comes from TV income, plus whatever sponsorship can be found. Jenson Button is said to drive one of the cars, Rubens Barrichello is said to be back in the picture if his experience outweighs the money Bruno Senna can bring. See full article here – Honda management buyout to go ahead
At almost the same time TimesOnline brought this exclusive pretty much confirming the management buyout – Exclusive: Honda saved from the Formula One scrapheap
Autosport claims that Honda Racing are getting ready to begin pre-season testing. There is no news on any buyers or takeover but according to autosport.com the team personnel have been instructed to get ready to go testing. Similar claims have been made by BBC.
More here – Honda preparing to test 2009 car and here Ex-Honda team closes on F1 return
How rosy all the things may seem after reading today’s headlines.
According to Autosport’s sources Honda’s F1 future is “looking good” (Honda meaning the F1 team). Mercedes-Benz (the engine supplier to be) will hold on as long as it can to make the deal happen. And the deal is to be management buy out involving both Ross Brawn and Nick Fry (although other people’s reliable sources predicted otherwise approximately 24 hours ago).
There has been a lot of “news” and rumours surrounding the future of the Honda team these days. That had to be expected having in mind that we are now less than 40 days away from the start of 2009 season and the team’s future is yet to be sorted out. Here is brief summary and some thoughts on the takeover by Virgin Group talk.
Bruno Senna - On his way to F1 after all ?
Grandprix.com reported yesterday that the announcement that the team formerly known as Honda will be going ahead may be made soon. The yet to be named ex-Honda team is expected to be powered by Mercedes engines and Bruno Senna should come on board as Button’s team mate. The main backing is to come from former Williams’ partners Petrobras and Honda itself (for 2009 season only probably). Petrobas’ switch from Williams to Honda has been rumoured long before Honda announced their withdrawal from F1. The Petrobras connections was probably also a reason behind Honda testing Brazilian drivers Bruno Senna and Lucas di Grassi last November. According to grandprix.com additional finances are expected from one or two Senna’s personal sponsors (quick look at Bruno Senna’s personal website reveals names such as Embratel, Santander, Carglass, Hublot, Hilton Racing, Cavalera Jeans). We still have to wait and sea how relaible will grandprix.com’s sources prove to be this time. (Update: Other reports suggest that the financing has been secured but so far only for first four races of the season – see this article at The Guardian)
Bernie has spoken again
We haven’t heard too much from Mr. Ecclestone since his FOTA and FIA shelved his medals idea. But he is back. Last week he told us what teams he would not want loose, later last week he confirmed he advanced payment of £14.5 million to Williams to help to balance their books. Now he came with an alternative to cost cuts – letting the manufacturers spend whatever they want. At a price of course, long term commitment to F1 that could prevent the 2008 Honda scenario:
BMW Sauber F1.09 and F1.08 side by side
Most of Formula One fans knew that the 2009 Formula One cars will be quite different than their predecessors. But as teams kept their ideas to themselves we could all only guess how the new cars will look.
I summarized all the main differences between 2009 and 2008 cars back in August in the post 2009 Formula 1 cars look – The most obvious differences. Around the same time this 2009 F1 car visual appeared all over F1 forums:
There was not much talk about more teams leaving Formula One for quite some time. The cost saving measures seemed to have done the trick. But last few days the F1 exit talks surfaced again. The 2009 season seems to be the make or break for Toyota. Some fresh rumours surfaced also about future of Renault (not sure how much of this is true and how much is made up), Pitpass also raised some concern about Force India finances … Well, in market conditions as we see right now, there is always the possibility of somebody following Honda and exiting F1. Bernie Ecclestone already told us whom he would miss and whom he would not want to loose:
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