March 28, 2009

Thought for the day: Honda outflanked by a Virgin in Formula1

So how silly are Honda looking now?

Recently Honda withdrew their support for the Honda F1 racing team citing 'global economic concerns' as the reason. This despite the fact that they have funded the team for the last few years to the not inconsiderable tune of $300M per year (rumoured).

Their withdrawal left the future of the team in doubt with drivers not knowing whether they had a drive and the team not even knowing if they would be attending a race this season.

Yet in the early hours of this morning Brawn GP - the team formed from the remnants of Honda - not only participated in the qualifying for the first race of the season in Ausralia, they took first and second positions on the grid showing themselves to be considerably faster than any other team racing.

And to rub salt into the wound of Honda, Richard Branson's Virgin Group has just announced a sponsorship deal with the team that will see his brand name plastered all over the new team for the rest of the season. So the talk in the pit lane now is of the excellent Brawn GP cars, the great performance of the drivers and the 'life-saving' support of Branson and his company. Honda is only being mentioned as 'the company that pulled out at the last minute'.

Given that F1 sponsorship is a 'no-win' deal - you pour the money in and get nothing tangible out other than publicity and tickets to the races - you would think that Honda would have at least stood by their commitment for another year when the team was obviously developing one of the best cars on the grid. Being associated with a losing car was doing them no favours, but Brawn and the team told everyone over 12 months ao that they were focusing on this years car and that it would be worth the wait. Honda have made the investment and will now gain none of the rewards and accolades...

Or will tomorrows race prove me wrong?

Posted via web from The Posterous Cafe

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