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December 28, 2008

Honda Formula One team saved by Mexican billionaire

Filed under: Auto racing,Sports — admin @ 5:00 am

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Following recent news that Honda had withdrawn from Formula One in 2009, rumours have it that Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim has rescued the team. The team is said to have chosen Jenson Button and rookie Bruno Senna as its drivers for 2009. Senna who is the nephew of triple world champion Ayrton Senna will replace veteran Rubens Barrichello. Slim, claimed to be the worlds second richest person and owner of Telmex, is already sponsoring Bruno Senna through Embartel, one of his groups subsidiaries. Slim paid a visit to the Honda team facility in Northamptonshire 10 days ago and met with senior executives Ross Brawn and Nick Fry who have been searching for a buyer since Honda’s announcement earlier this month.

Honda withdrew from Formula One recently following a 40% slump in its retail car sales and an estimated budget in excess of US$350m annually. The recent season was not successful for Honda which saw them finish ninth in the constructors championship, only beating Team India and Super Aguri, both who failed to register a single championship point this year. This lack of success was seen as the final straw for Honda executives who were under pressure to reduce costs globally to align with decreasing revenues.

Almost a week ago reports began circulating the Slim was interested and that other suitors may include Vijay Mallya and David Richards. Mallya took an active role in Formula One in 2008 with his purchase of the Spyker F1 team for US$130m. The first year was a tough one for Mallya and the team with constant failure to finish and not a single championship point gained. Richards is reported to have already met with potential investors in the Middle East. He has the experience as former team principal for BAR and Benetton Formula One motor racing teams.


Related news

Sources

  • “Mexican billionare Carlos Slim reported to be rescuing Honda”. News.com.au, December 28, 2008
  • “F1 Team Results 2008”. Forumla 1, December 28, 2008
  • Malcolm Folley “Button and Honda banking on billionaire Carlos Slim’s picking”. Daily Mail, December 28, 2008
  • “Honda F1: Mallya pitched against Carlos Slim”. Rediff, December 22, 2008
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