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Brawn 'positive' about Honda but JYS suggests it's over

Ross Brawn has insisted that he remains 'optimistic' about the future of Honda's beleaguered Formula 1 team and the parent company in Japan is adamant that seeing out the 2009 season is 'not impossible' – but esteemed former three-time world champion Sir Jackie Stewart is not so sure.

With just over a month now until the cars take to the starting grid for the curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, there has still been no announcement about what is to happen to the Brackley-based operation and its 750 employees, even if news is expected imminently [see separate story – click here].

RBS sporting ambassador Stewart, however, suggests the considerable media hype surrounding a potential management buy-out and other outside interest has 'all come to nothing' as the sport battles against a global credit crunch in which everybody is increasingly tightening their belts.

“The damage was done when Honda announced in December that they were pulling out,” the Scot explained in an interview with The Herald. “Although there has been a slim hope that they might survive, my feeling is that it's all come to nothing.

“I know Richard Branson is interested in grands prix and he attended a few races last year, but although he has achieved a lot in his life, he also tends to get publicity in other cases where there isn't much substance to the stories.

“As for Bernie [Ecclestone – F1 commercial rights-holder] taking a share in a management buy-out, that would be a clear conflict of interest, because he would then have to become a member of FOTA (Formula One Teams' Association) – and you can't have somebody running the sport and having a stake in one of the competitors, so I think we can rule that out.

“Basically, the problem lies in the lack of money around sport; I am not just talking about F1, but also football, golf, tennis, the rest, because nobody is safe in the midst of the recession.

“The motor industry is in one of the most perilous positions, because if people aren't buying cars, then it filters through every other branch of the business. Most motoring teams are having to cut their cloth and cling onto existing contracts, in the knowledge that it simply isn't the right time to be persuading new sponsors to come on-board.”

Despite outgoing Honda CEO Takeo Fukui having conceded that of all the bidders to have come forward to purchase the squad so far, 'none of them are serious' [see separate story – click here] – and the belief now that Richard Branson and Virgin's recent re-emergence into the frame was little more than an extravagant publicity stunt by the billionaire British entrepreneur – an official for the Japanese manufacturer has argued that the team's survival is 'not impossible'.



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Kyle bush - Unregistered

February 26, 2009 1:17 PM

I'm so sick of stewart popping up with a comment on everything, go away old man! I've lost all respect for you, he just says whatever nonsence will get him and the RBS logo some press to keep his paycheck - which is now coming from uk taxpayers. And he calls bernie a money grabbing b*****d.

JOHN - Unregistered

February 26, 2009 5:39 PM

So JYS reckons it's all over? All over for the fans and those hard working folk - the unsung heros who made FI what it is with little pay. Of course not for JYS and his fellow country man former RBS Chief Executive Fred Goodwin now on an annual pension of £650,000 after bringing RBS to its knees. How do these guys live with their corporate and excessive greed? I say to JYS stay at home (maybe in his tax haven of switzerland) and swallow the immoral words of Gordon Gekko 'Greed Is Good'! Plenty of free Moet for JYS while his feet are up. Keep on a brave face folk while we slog it out through recession. :)



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