Honda's new owner keeps Button, Barrichello
The new owner of the Honda Formula One team confirmed today he would keep on drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello but snub Bruno Senna.Updated: Mar 06, 2009, 11:29 IST
The new owner of the Honda Formula One team confirmed on Friday he would keep on drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello but snub Bruno Senna.
News of the management buy-out led by Ross Brawn, who was principal of Honda Racing before the sale, came after a months-long takeover saga and only weeks ahead of the F1 season opener on March 29 in Melbourne.
Brawn said the huge experience of Button and Barrichello, who have started 423 races between them, would be crucial to the renamed Brawn GP Formula One Team.
"The vast experience and knowledge that both drivers bring to our team will prove invaluable as we aim to get up to speed in the shortest possible time to be ready for the first race of the season," he said in a statement.
Veteran Barrichello is the most experienced driver in Formula One history, having raced in 271 Grand Prix, winning nine.
The decision has left 2009 plans in limbo for Barrichello's Brazilian compatriot Senna, nephew of F1 legend Ayrton Senna.
"It seems that Ross has made his decision," Senna told autosport.com.
"It looks like he's based it on the security of the team -- it's much easier for him to take Rubens because he's worked with him for a long time.
"Ross was happy with my testing at the end of last year but it just wasn't enough for him to have the proof that I'm ready for Formula One. I respect his opinion but I think it's a very straightforward way of looking at things."
Sennna said he was determined to graduate to Formula One as soon as possible as he saw little to gain from another season in the GP2 feeder formula.
"We have quite a few things going on now," he said. "We have quite a few proposals, both outside and inside Formula One. It's a difficult moment, because we need to think about which way is the best to go.
"It's very important for me to be linked with Formula One, this year and in the future, in whatever we decide to do. One thing I have learned from this is you've got to be in the right place at the right time."