Today’s papers are full of the story of Honda’s withdrawal from F1 and the efforts to sell the team and save some of the 670 jobs at Brackley. It’s just a number, like the figure Woolworths and Citibank are shedding. But, as Jenson Button highlighted in his statement yesterday, there are real people behind these numbers, people he feels very close to.
Although this is potentially a disaster for Button’s career, he has a huge amount of money in the bank and will be alright. The same is true of Ross Brawn. But the rest of the team are not so lucky. Even if the sale is successful the team will be streamlined and probably only about a third of them will keep their posts. The rest will be out looking for highly specialised work in a hostile economic climate.
This is a team which has been put together over the last nine years, based on the BAR team. The front men you know; Ross Brawn needs no introduction and has only been with the team 12 months. Nick Fry has been with the team since the David Richards days and is one of the most affable people in the pit lane. But he’s also teflon coated and very determined. He has got his way many times over the years in the highly political atmosphere of Honda, against the odds. You can blame him for Honda not hitting the heights in F1, because ultimately he is in charge of putting the right people in the key places, but the technical people have to shoulder the blame for failing to deliver.