Following the statement made by Mr. Takeo Fukui, President of Honda Motor Company, Ltd. in Tokyo yesterday, members of the senior management and driver Jenson Button have responded with great optimism:
Nick Fry :“Despite the obvious disappointment that we all felt on hearing the news from Honda Motor Co. we do understand that this decision was one which they felt they had to take in light of the current global economic situation and the resulting impact on the worldwide automobile market.
“Last night’s meeting with the staff was difficult for everyone but judging by what we have seen here in Brackley today, that has quickly given rise to a steely determination. The directors of the Honda Racing F1 Team now intend to make every effort possible to secure the future of the team and we know we can count on the continued support and fighting spirit of the great team of people we have here in Brackley. Our staff have been a credit to themselves, to our team and to Formula One over the past 24 hours and I would like to take this opportunity to say how proud we are of them today.
“The RA109, our 2009 F1 contender, is our first car developed under the technical leadership of Ross Brawn. With the resources Ross has at his disposal and confirmation that Honda will provide the necessary support to complete the car in time for the first race in Melbourne, I am sure that we can still have a very successful 2009 season if a new owner can be found. One new major sponsor is already signed for 2009 and discussions are well advanced with others. Offers of support from around the world have been generous and I’m sure that with that kind of goodwill towards the team we have a good chance of competing even in this difficult economic situation.
“We have had a number of potentially suitable investors approach us since the news broke and we now we want to make sure that we have the right owner for the team to enable to us to continue at the right level.
“There is no doubt in my mind that Formula One can have a good future and that this team can be part of it. The sport, including FOTA, the FIA and FOM, is already well down the road of ensuring a more sustainable existence and I’m sure that this work will continue to accelerate in the coming weeks, making our team a very good investment for the right buyer.”
Ross Brawn: “Our information is that, relative to the other teams, we have a very strong car in development here at Brackley and we will continue to develop the RA109 to ensure a strong start to 2009 and improvement through the season.
“This is a unique opportunity. The facilities we have here are among the best in the sport as a result of multi-million pound investments over the past 24 months. We have a fantastic workforce and a car that could be one of the best.
“Honda are keen to help us try to preserve the team and fortunately we have some time to react. If this had happened closer to the season it would have been much more difficult. It's a fantastic opportunity for someone to step into what will be a very competitive team next year. The facilities here are amongst the best in Formula One, the workforce is definitely one of the best in Formula One and we have a great car in progress for next year. We have aspirations to be at the front of the grid and we want to find investors who have the same ambitions.
“I would like to thank the staff here at Brackley for a fantastic demonstration of courage and fortitude today despite difficult circumstances. I am proud to be part of this team.”
Jenson Button: “As you can imagine, I was totally shocked by yesterday’s news. The process of absorbing it is one that will continue for some days to come, so the only focus today was being here at Brackley to return the support I have counted on throughout our past six years together. I am sure I will have more to say in the coming days but today is about the people I consider my team - and what a fantastic group of people they are.”