Rescued Honda team
With a blank livery and Jenson Button at the wheel, the team currently known as Honda will return to action at a Silverstone shakedown of its 2009 car next Thursday, sources from inside the Brackley factory are reporting. With the Ross Brawn-led management buyout now approved - but not officially announced - by Honda Motor Co.'s Tokyo board, information is leaking from the outfit that had until recently looked likely to be wound up ahead of the 2009 season. Now, however, suggestions of at least one - and possibly two - full tests at Spanish circuits in March are gaining credence, and one source told us that these will be preceded by a run-out with Mercedes power at Silverstone late next week. With the Honda board also insisting upon a name change, the frontrunner at present is 'Brackley F1', but a final decision on this has not been taken. Also likely - but not confirmed - is the identity of Button's team-mate. Bruno Senna has all winter been named as the frontrunner, but given the nature of the challenge faced for 2009, it is believed the veteran Rubens Barrichello is now favourite to retain his seat. Under Brawn's leadership, the funds for the team this year will come from increased and advanced FOM income, commercial sponsors, and Honda itself, who have concluded that it is cheaper to offload the squad as a going concern rather than fund the closure and compensate contracted staff, including the very highly paid Button. The Swiss newspaper Blick said of rookie hopeful Senna: "The young Brazilian will drive in the DTM championship (in 2009)."