Honda Motor Co., Ltd has underlined its determination to win the Formula One World Championship with its acquisition of the full 100% shareholding in the B*A*R Honda F1 team.
Less than a year after purchasing a 45% share in B*A*R Limited, Honda has agreed to acquire founding owner British American Tobacco’s 55% majority share. Honda will complete the purchase of the remaining shares by the end of 2005.
The acquisition was announced in a press conference held by Honda in Tokyo today, ahead of its home grand prix at Suzuka this weekend. This race will also mark Honda’s 100th grand prix with the B*A*R Honda team.
During the course of the past six seasons with the B*A*R Honda team, Honda’s F1 programme has gone from strength to strength. In 2000, Honda returned to the F1 World Championship, having entered into a contract with B*A*R to supply engines and jointly develop chassis technology. In December 2001, a new 3-year contract, effective from 2002, was signed, the provisions of which included the strengthening of the joint chassis development project. In July 2004, an agreement was reached to extend the contract period to the end of the 2007, with the additional aim of further strengthening the partnership’s structure for technological development.
The 2004 season marked the 40th anniversary of Honda’s inaugural F1 campaign and saw B*A*R Honda achieve second place in the Constructors’ World Championship.
Honda now considers 100% ownership of the team to be a crucial step in its ambition to win the Constructors’ World Championship in the next few years.
The team will continue to conduct operations from its current base in Brackley, Northamptonshire, UK, working together with Honda Racing Development Ltd., located in Berkshire.
Hiroshi Oshima, Operating Officer, Corporate Communications and Motor Sports, Honda Motor Co., Ltd, commented: “After discussing Honda’s future F1 participation, we have decided that Honda should own 100% of the team. We greatly appreciate the partnership of BAT, which has managed the team with us until now, and we wish BAT the best of luck in its future endeavours. From next season, we will be even more energetic in our F1 activities, working hard as a team in order to improve our technology, develop our young engineers and achieve our goal of winning the World Championship. We look forward to your continued support.”
Jimmi Rembiszewski, British American Tobacco Director, Marketing, commented: “It will be sad to end our association but it is immensely satisfying to leave the team in the competent hands of Honda who are proven winners in the sport. We wish Honda every success for the future and look forward to our last year of sponsorship.”