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Page last updated at 22:07 GMT, Monday, 8 December 2008

Button hopeful over Honda future


Button 'to stay positive'

Honda driver Jenson Button is confident the team will be able to find a buyer and continue to compete in Formula One.

The Northamptonshire-based outfit are looking for new owners after the Japanese manufacturers decided to quit the sport for financial reasons.

"With the team and the attitude we have I can't believe there is not anyone interested in buying it and helping us out," said 28-year-old Button.

"The team are working their backsides off to produce a great car for 2009."

Team chief executive Nick Fry told the BBC he has had three approaches already from potential new owners.

One of the suitors is thought to be former Benetton and BAR F1 team boss Dave Richards, who is chairman of motorsport engineering company Prodrive and sports car manufacturer Aston Martin.

However, Richards said: "I want to know all the facts, first of all. I want to know the exact lie of the land before I commit myself to anything.


"It's all very well making the commitment to buy [the team] because I don't think that will be too onerous.

"The real issue is to make sure that you have the resources to sustain it for the foreseeable future."

Prodrive runs the Subaru World Rally team and Aston Martin's Le Mans programmes as well as the Ford Performance Racing team in Australia. It is 40% owned by a Kuwaiti investment company.

Last year, Richards led a consortium which saw the Kuwaiti company acquire Aston Martin from Ford.

A January deadline has been set to find an investor for Honda, and staff at the team's Brackley HQ have been told to expect redundancy letters before Christmas.

"I found out the same as everyone did on the team, so it's just as much a shock for me as for everyone else," Button said when first discovering the news.

The Briton has been linked with a switch to Toro Rosso or Williams but was in optimistic mood after visiting the Honda team headquarters.

Murray Walker on Button and Honda

"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."

Button offered a message to potential investors and stated: "What they'll get is 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."

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see also
Global crisis ends Honda F1 era
05 Dec 08 |  Formula One
UK Honda staff facing redundancy
05 Dec 08 |  Northamptonshire
Honda boss upbeat over team sale
05 Dec 08 |  Formula One
Others may follow Honda - Mosley
05 Dec 08 |  Formula One
Harsh reality catches up with F1
05 Dec 08 |  Formula One
Honda's F1 years
05 Dec 08 |  Formula One

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