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.