Brawn GP take over Honda Racing
|By Jonathan Noble||Thursday, March 5th 2009, 23:59 GMT|
Ross Brawn has taken control of the former Honda Racing outfit in a move that secures the survival of the tenth team in Formula One.
After months of speculation about the future of the Brackley-based outfit, following Honda's decision to quit grand prix racing last December, a 100 per cent buyout by Brawn has resulted in the team being renamed 'Brawn GP'.
A statement issued at midnight on Thursday said that Brawn had reached agreement with the Honda Motor Company to take ownership of the team. It was also confirmed that the outfit will be powered by Mercedes-Benz engines.
As autosport.com revealed earlier this week, Jenson Button will be partnered by Rubens Barrichello, who is set to extend his record as the most experienced driver in Formula One history.
Speaking about the new deal, Brawn said: "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.
"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."
Brawn added: "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."
Brawn said that the huge experience that Button and Barrichello have between them, having started 423 races in total, would be invaluable to the outfit as it bids to make up for lost time over this winter.
"I am delighted that Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello will form our race driver line-up for the 2009 season," he said.
"The vast experience and knowledge that both drivers bring to our team will prove invaluable as we aim to get up to speed in the shortest possible time to be ready for the first race of the season in Melbourne on 29 March. 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."
Honda made it clear it was delighted to have finally put together a deal to safeguard the future of the team.
Hiroshi Oshima, Managing Officer of Honda Motor Co., Ltd. responsible for Corporate Communications and Motor Sports, commented: "Since announcing our withdrawal from Formula One racing on December 5 of last year, we have conducted various studies and discussions so that the team can continue its activities as a new team.
"We are very pleased that we could sell the team to Ross Brawn, with whom we have been partaking in the challenges of F1 competition, and are grateful for his decision. We offer our sincerest wishes for the new team which will be led by Ross."
Brawn GP, whose official colours appear to be yellow, black and white, are scheduled to shake down the new BGP 001 at Silverstone tomorrow in a behind-closed-doors test session, prior to a full blown run out at Barcelona next week and Jerez on March 15-17.