Honda F1 team saved, will race in '09

The former Honda F1 team has been saved and will race in Formula One in 2009, according to chief executive Nick Fry.
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Honda pulled out of F1 in December as a result of the global financial crisis, leaving the British-based outfit to search desperately for a buyer. But Mr Fry said the team had survived thanks to recent cost reductions in F1.

"All the teams and their support have helped us preserve our team. So myself, Ross Brawn and our 700 employees thank them," Mr Fry said.

Mr Fry would reveal no further details - including how the team would be funded or what it would be called - saying only that there would be more news "very soon".

The team would probably be called Brawn Racing, and that the car would test for the first time at Silverstone on Friday - but that has not yet been officially confirmed.

Mr Fry was speaking after a meeting of the F1 team owners' association FOTA, which announced on Thursday its proposals for the future of F1.

"Our team will benefit from Fota," said Fry, who attended the meeting with Brawn. "The cost reductions will help us over the next two to three years. But equally important is the support we've received from the other teams."

It is unclear who the new owners would be or what the team will be called but speculation has focused on a buy-out led by the current management of Mr Fry and Mr Brawn. It has however been confirmed that Jenson Button will be one of the drivers.

The second seat is between Brazilian veteran Rubens Barrichello and his fellow countryman and F1 novice Bruno Senna, the nephew of three-time world champion Ayrton Senna.

There have been widespread reports this week that Barrichello has won the drive, but a source close to Senna said that his management was still in negotiations with the team.

The car will be fitted with a Mercedes engine.

Even if the team make it to the final pre-season test in Barcelona in mid-March, they still face an uphill struggle to be competitive at the start of the season.

At the time of Honda's withdrawal, Mr Brawn expressed his belief that the car could run in the top three in 2009, despite the team's poor form in the last two years.

But the recent uncertainty will have affected development effort and they have lost running time to their rivals, most of whom have completed at least two full four-day tests already.

Source: BBC News