Will there really be a Honda F1 team for 2009? It’s difficult to say. Petrobras have pulled out of sponsoring the team, as well as deciding to pull out of F1 altogether since it offers no further product development possibilities for them at this point in time.
And what of the other rumours surrounding the team?
Sir Richard Branson is being rather cagey about the whole thing, saying how there are significant changes that would need to be made within the F1 culture before he would consider joining. He also said that even if talks were currently going on between himself and Honda F1, he wouldn’t be allowed to say anything about it. Word about how he thought the RA108 was kind of cute in that blue and green getup last year is reportedly merely a rumour, which was further confirmed by Honda F1 announcing earlier today that there are no serious buyers currently on the table. Which is problematic if Honda F1 does indeed wish to be present on the grid at the start of the 2009 season, as Mercedes-Benz (who supplies engines) reportedly need a funding deal in place for the team by the end of the day today if they are to confirm that they will indeed supply for 2009.
Meanwhile, over in Italy, the spying case debacle between McLaren and Ferrari finally came to an official end this week, with charges against McLaren being dropped due to an across-the-board-agreement of “nolo contendere”, or “no contest.” McLaren’s chief designer at the time, Michael Coughlin, and three other McLaren employees will still have to pay some stiff fines, but at least the courtroom drama is now complete.
Finally, if you were waiting for news on USF1, you’ll have to wait one more day. The official announcement of plans for the team will be made tomorrow, February 24th, on the US television network SPEEDTV. Watch this space for that news once it’s happened.