Author Topic: Virgin to buy Honda Formula 1 Team?  (Read 785 times)


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Virgin to buy Honda Formula 1 Team?
« on: 16:30:51, 18/02/09 »

Richard Branson's Virgin Group have made a bid to purchase its Formula 1 team, Honda has confirmed.

PICS: Honda's F1 timeline

The Japanese carmaker, who announced its withdrawal from the sport in December, hopes a deal can be made in time for the start of the 2009 season in Australia on 29 March.

"We are negotiating with several buyers and one of these parties is the Virgin Group," a Honda spokesman stated.

Sources suggest the team is up for sale for only 1 - although any buyer would need to find a budget in the region of 40m to a team for the duration of the new season.
Branson is no stranger to F1, his Virgin Mobile company sponsoring the Jordan team in 2002. he is a regular celebrity face in f1 paddocks across the globe.

If the deal does come off, it would throw a lifeline to former Honda driver Jenson Button and also offer openings to Bruno Senna, nephew of the great Ayrton. US IndyCar darling Danica Patrick, who was in line to test for Honda before the pull-out, is also an outside possibility although the USF1 team is the more realistic opportunity.

It is felt the end of next week is the deadline if they are to be ready in time for Melbourne.

PICS: Bruno Senna tests for Honda

But the 25-year-old, who finished second in GP2 last season, knows "it would certainly be a big challenge" if thrown in at the deep end.

"To race in F1 you need to grab all chances with both hands, even when they look very difficult, because you may get no more of them after that," Senna told Autosprint.

"I think no driver in the last few years has had his F1 debut with so little testing mileage.

"However, it's always better to be in F1, even under difficult conditions, than to be out of it.

"To race in GP2 for another season would have been useless for me.

"It would be a difficult debut, I know, but initially there won't be big pressure or expectations, because at the moment no-one considers the ex-Honda squad a top team.

"So the pressure would be less and I'll eventually adapt in a quicker and easier way.

"At least I can say I know the (Melbourne) track, having already raced and won there in Australian F3."

Senna has revealed Honda are ready with a car for the new season, even if it has yet to be put through on-track testing.

"Since Honda announced its retirement, the team have carried on working," he added.

"Maybe not as intensively as they would have had Honda kept going, but the technicians have nevertheless carried on with the project of the new car according to schedule.

"Let's just say that, if before the Australian GP I managed to run for at least three, four days, doing about 1,200km, then that'd be a dream
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