What’s in a Formula 1 name?
The question is not merely rhetorical but one faced by anyone writing about the team formerly known as Honda (how about TFKAH?) who are expected to carry out a shakedown of their new Mercedes-powered car at Silverstone this week.
They could then go testing in Barcelona, with no news yet on when a long-awaited management buyout will be confirmed.
Honda announced in December that they were pulling out of
the sport, putting the future of their team and British driver Jenson Button in limbo.
Although they have formally entered the championship as Honda Racing F1, anything powered by a Mercedes engine is clearly not a Honda.
As Bernie Ecclestone told the Times newspaper last month: “We should stop talking about Honda because they are gone. This is now a limited liability company which used to be owned by Honda (but) which they want to sell.”
Fine. So what are they to be called now? And what name would suit them best for the season starting in Australia on March 29?
The Team Formerly Known As Honda may have a certain ring to it, rather like the artist formerly known as Prince or the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, but it’s hardly the forward-looking sort of name to attract sponsors.
Suggestions on the internet range from “Brackley F1″ after the team’s British base, to “Brawn Racing” and “Brawn Sport” after team principal, former Ferrari technical director and management buyout leader Ross Brawn.
Team Brawn may take some getting used to (“and that’s Button’s Brawn going into the barriers….”), and maybe Ross Racing would have more of a ring to it, but it would at least be in a strong tradition — just look at McLaren, Ferrari and Williams among the current crop of teams racing under their founders’ name.
Most Formula One teams have morphed through multiple identities, with British American Racing buying out Ken Tyrrell’s famed outfit before BAR were in turn taken over by Honda.
At one point former BAR team boss David Richards even mulled a name change to ‘Pure Racing’.
Imagine that one sponsored by Virgin.
PHOTO: Bruno Senna, the nephew of Formula One legend Ayrton Senna, takes a curve in his Honda during an F1 testing session at Montmelo, near Barcelona, November 19, 2008. REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino