Guest Author - Christine Blachford
Any news about Honda at the moment needs to come with a big disclaimer saying unconfirmed, because as yet, there has been no official word on what's happening with the team. However there has been some speculation forming plenty of rumours, and any one of them could be true. Here's a quick round-up of what's been happening:
Last time we checked in with Honda, it looked like Nick Fry might be heading up a management buyout, and this was causing all sorts of controversy over ethical procedures. From what we can tell, this was progressing nicely, until some new bids were entered and this had to be halted. It's unclear at the moment whether the deal is completely off the table, presumably this depends on what happens with the other potential buyers.
Bruno Senna and Sponsors
After things had been quiet for a while, it was suddenly rumoured that Bruno Senna would be teaming up with Button and the team would be saved. Senna would be bringing plenty of Brazilian sponsorship money with him, and Honda could fund the team rather than suffer the expense of so many redundancies. However, some of the sponsors have said this isn't true, and it seems as though - although Senna may or may not drive for the team in 2009 - he won't be their saviour.
The latest speculation rests on Richard Branson, head of the Virgin empire, being the latest bidder. His spokespeople issued something of a denial, stating that he was constantly being linked with the subject. That isn't really a denial, of course, but that doesn't mean we can read anything into it, either. Branson would bring a certain spark to the team. He has a talent for picking up a business and turning it around, but his longevity within the sport would be questionable. The Virgin brand has tried it's hand at so many different markets, there's nothing to say that Formula 1 would be one that stuck.
As I said at the start, these are just rumours and there is nothing concrete to go on. Whilst it's obvious that business deals at this level require some discretion, it is starting to get frustrating. The lack of official news is worrying, and time is ticking ever closer to the first Grand Prix of the season.