Amidst all the media hype surrounding the rising from the ashes of what was Honda of Brawn GP, little is still known about the fate of Nick Fry – the man who for much of the sale process was believed to be at the forefront of the management buy-out.
It is understood that Honda in Japan went somewhat cool on the idea of Fry leading the team after it was discovered that he had fabricated claims that major Brazilian oil company Petrobras would be willing to sponsor the Brackley-based outfit by way of bank-rolling reigning GP2 Series runner-up Bruno Senna's graduation to Formula 1.
Following Petrobras' public denial of any such commitment, the Englishman appeared to shrink increasingly into the background of dealings as erstwhile team principal Ross Brawn took charge, and it was consequently little surprise that the new team has been re-christened in his name.
However, mystery continues to conceal what – if anything – remains for Fry at Brawn GP. His name did not crop up even once in the press release issued to mark the birth of the new squad on Friday morning, and the 52-year-old was the first to leave the landmark Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) meeting in Geneva during the week immediately after reading out his prepared statement, refusing to take questions from the floor and performing, reports British newspaper The Guardian
, 'a remarkable disappearing act' that 'did nothing to dispel the growing impression that he has been marginalised at the team he once led'.
Fry has often been criticised in F1 since his arrival in the top flight in late 2004, replacing Prodrive chairman David Richards at the helm of what was then BAR-Honda. He was roundly panned in early 2007, after Honda failed to procure a title sponsor and as a smokescreen was forced to run the disastrous 'Earth Dreams' campaign instead – a situation that continued into 2008, marking two of the least successful seasons in the Japanese manufacturer's grand prix history.