Honda chiefs reacted stoically to criticism that the ‘Earth Car’ concept for 2007 is ill founded.
Critics reacted almost instantly to the unveiling on Monday of the sponsorless car, suggesting that it is an insincere and deceptive gesture that indicates more about Honda’s financial situation and lack of focus than its interest in environmental issues.
“The fact remains that 94 per cent of the people we polled thought it was a good idea,” team principal Nick Fry insisted.
Referring to the environmental challenge, he added: “Formula one has to change or it will wither on the vine and become extinct.”
To the Sun newspaper, he rejected the ‘insincere’ objection by declaring Honda’s environmental credentials and revealed: “We are now looking into the possibility of having solar panels fitted to the roofs of the team’s motor homes at the races.”
English driver Jenson Button was also on-message as he denied that only the loss of tobacco sponsor Lucky Strike led Honda to seek a new path in 2007.
“Actually we have an extra eleven sponsors this year compared to last year,” the 27-year-old insisted, “and that’s because they want to get involved in this idea and raise awareness.”
Button said the Honda campaign had already opened his eyes to the global issue.
“Now I make a point of doing little things to help the environment,” he revealed. “I always switch off my television rather than leave it on stand-by.”