When Honda first withdrew from Formula One back in early December of last year, the motoring company’s chiefs said they would do all they would to sell the squad on and keep the employees safe in their positions. Since then, the ride has been bumpy to say the least while there have been some optimistic highs for the Brackley team, the lows have also come in equal measure. And today, it would appear that perhaps the final low has arrived…
First it was Carlos Slim who denied being a potential purchaser for the Honda outfit, and then Dave Richards pulled out of the running. Then it was the turn of the management to add some hope to a deal being made before the first race, and more recently, Richard Branson has been associated with the squad. Even Bernie Ecclestone has apparently had his piggy bank rejected by the company chiefs.
Originally, Nick Fry and Ross Brawn stated that they had received a lot of interest in the team and had whittled the offers down to a dozen serious possibilities. However, Honda CEO Takeo Fukui told the press in Tokyo today they have made little progress in finding a purchaser since the team went up for sale in December.
There are various offers for the team but we have not seen any serious buyer yet. We find the sale process difficult. Takeo Fukui.
This slaps Ross Brawn’s and Nick Fry’s previous comments down. In late December and early January, the current team principal and team CEO spoke of lots of interested parties.
There has been a huge amount of interest. It’s now got to the stage where we need to filter out the serious from the not so serious. We’re all hopeful that something will happen and we’re anxious to turn up the wick again in the new year. Ross Brawn, speaking in late-December, 2008.
It’s looking very positive at the moment. We had, as you might expect, a huge amount of interest at the start, probably well in excess of 30 groups came to us. We have now narrowed that down to something in the region of a dozen, and we’re currently talking to Honda about what is the best bet for the future. Nick Fry, speaking in early January, 2009.
With less than a month to go before the cars need to be sent over to Australia for the first race of the year, a deal that would ensure the survival of the squad is looking slimmer and slimmer. According to Autosport, Mercedes-Benz have apparently put a deadline of this evening (Monday 23rd) to commit to purchasing their engine units for the upcoming season.
The clock continues to tick…
Image © HondaF1.