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Ecclestone: Honda chiefs refused my help

Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that he pledged to help out financially with the Honda F1 management buy-out, but that Nick Fry and Ross Brawn turned down his offer because 'they wanted to do things on their own'.

Time is fast running out for the 750-strong, Brackley-based operation, which was put on the market by the parent company in Japan last December as a result of the global credit crunch and poor on-track return for its reputed £147 million investment, and has still to confirm a new buyer.

It was understood that the Fry/Brawn management buy-out was all-but a done deal until last week, when Richard Branson's Virgin Group re-entered the fray at the last minute [see separate story – click here], once more plunging the bidding process into chaos and uncertainty.

There is believed to be a deadline of the end of this month for a deal to be finalised with either one or other of the parties for the 2009 Formula 1 season – as well as for an engine supply agreement to be concluded with Mercedes-Benz – or else see the team close its doors for good. Ecclestone said he had endeavoured to step in and help with the process by way of a £100 million cash injection, only to have been rebuffed.

“I tried to help with the management buy-out,” the sport's commercial rights-holder told Sunday newspaper the News of the World. “They should have taken what I offered.

“It was a very good offer for everybody concerned – it gave them complete protection, but they wanted to do things on their own. Now all we can do is hope and pray!

“I don't think anybody knows what is going to happen with Honda. It is up to them to make up their bloody minds, but the team can go one of three ways. They either go with the management buy-out, sell to Richard Branson or they could simply just close down the whole thing.

“The silly thing is we have got Bruno [Senna] wanting to drive. It would be fantastic for everybody to have the name Senna back in F1.”

Ecclestone has forked out to help other cash-strapped outfits in the past, including Williams, Jordan and Minardi, and his offer to Honda would have guaranteed the team could have seen out the 2009 season, with Fry and Brawn each owning a 17.5 per cent share.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), Turkish F1, Istanbul Park, 9th-11th May, 2008
Williams Martini Racing FW40
Antonio Giovinazzi - Sauber F1 Team
McLaren - Honda MCL32
Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL32 F1 launch, [Credit: McLaren]
McLaren MCL32, McLaren-Honda, [Credit: McLaren]
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
Fernando Alonso - McLaren MCL32

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jjthekid46 - Unregistered

February 22, 2009 4:41 PM

And since any changes the teams want to make takes a unanimous decision these days, all Bernie would have to do if a particular proposal by the other teams didn't suit him would be to go to Fry and Brawn and say: "Vote against this, or you will find your well will dry out very quickly" Bernie never does things or lends people money for free(hell he even scrapped the popular Canadian GP eventhough they simply couldn't meet his wage demands but still tried to give him has much money as they could possibly offer him), EVERYTHING HE DOES has an agenda !!!!!!!!!!

Cosworth DFV - Unregistered

February 22, 2009 4:44 PM

If Fry and Brawn get 17.5% each then that leaves 65% owned by Bernie!! And it would be Bernie who would call the shots in the team and would allow him in on the inter-team discussions (FOTA) and as he is in charge of the rights (FOA) it could be a conflict of interest.

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