Jenson Button has revealed that he is optimistic a buyer will be found for Honda's moribund Formula 1 team in time for the two cars to take to the grid for the 2009 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne in March – and has argued that whoever does purchase the Brackley-based outfit will 'get a great team with excellent facilities'.
Honda in Japan has given a deadline of January for the team to be sold – or else see its doors closed for good. The 800 employees at the squad's Northamptonshire base have been warned to expect redundancy letters between now and Christmas.
Though he has asked to be released from the new, £8 million-a-year, three-year deal that he had recently agreed with the Japanese concern [see separate story – click here
], and has been mentioned in connection with securing a drive at either Scuderia Toro Rosso or even former team Williams for next year, Button has outwardly expressed his support for the team with whom he has spent the majority of his 153-race grand prix career.
“With the team and the attitude we have I can't believe there is not anyone interested in buying it and helping us out,” the 28-year-old told BBC Sport
. “The team are working their backsides off to produce a great car for 2009.
“I headed up to the factory to see what was going on, not in a very positive mood, but after half an hour with the whole crew, in every department, I realised we can't change what's happened. The only thing we can do is stay positive – and that's what we are doing.”
Honda F1 CEO Nick Fry has divulged that there are already three potential investors interested in making an offer, and Button urged that whoever does ultimately buy the squad will 'get a great team with excellent facilities'.
“With the leadership of team principal Ross Brawn and the whole team as they are, we can come through this and be on the grid in 2009,” the former Hungarian Grand Prix winner concluded.
Honda abandoned development of its unloved RA108 machine early on in the season in order to focus its efforts fully on its successor, the RA109.