As Lewis Hamilton's momentous year made way for 2009, the big news in Formula One circles was, of course, the demise of Honda Racing F1 Team as a competitive entity. This was followed immediately by CEO Nick Fry's suggestions that "we have to have credible interest this side of Christmas," from "serious potential buyers" if a deal is to be done which would enable the team to line up on the Melbourne grid on March 29.
At the time, Fry was bullish about finding a buyer, citing the facilities on offer as a major selling point. The sale was unlike that of bankrupted teams with limited assets he said in early December: "This situation is very different from the Super Aguri and Arrows type situation(s)," adding that Honda had "possibly the best F1 facility in the world," plus the sport's best full-size wind tunnel and that the sale included engine dynamometers.
Jenson Button and Ross Brawn © LAT
The list of assets further included a contract with Jenson Button (although Honda announced that it was in talks to 'undo' the contract) and, of course, the contracted services of Ross Brawn, whose championship-winning abilities cannot be overstressed.
A further selling point was the fact that the racing team's parent company was prepared to let the entire operation go for a relative pittance simply to see it continue in business, with Honda Motor Co., Ltd rumoured to be open to nominal offers of just a dollar or so.
Get back on track. Join today for unlimited access to all Autosport news and features.
Are you an Autosport magazine subscriber? Activate your online account
Your Autosport Plus membership includes:
- Unlimited access to Autosport's news - no monthly cap.
- Read the best motorsport features, analysis and opinion.
- Explore Forix, our comprehensive motorsport stats database.
- Choose from monthly, yearly and two-yearly packages.
South African-born Dieter trained as industrial engineer before holding down a variety of senior motor industry marketing and manufacturing positions. At the age of 40 he decided to follow his passion, and became the first and only South African journalist to cover Formula 1 regularly. Dieter joined AtlasF1 at the beginning of 2004 – a year prior to its merger with Autosport – and his regular column offers an intriguing analysis of F1’s politicking and commercial chicanery. Although now also proudly Belgian, he gives his domicile as "Wherever F1 duplicity lurks".@RacingLines More features by Dieter Rencken