The chances of Jenson Button lining up on the grid in Melbourne for the team formerly known as Honda are looking considerably better, according to team boss Nick Fry.
He has revealed that the Brackley-based outfit is considering around a dozen “serious” offers in an interview with Autosport, and now weighs the chances of the team making it to the start of the 2009 season as “extremely positive” and nearly 100 per cent.
He also said that more than 30 organisations initially contacted the team to discuss the possibility of taking it over in what he described as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”.
However one of those candidates will not be Prodrive’s David Richards, thought to be a frontrunner, after he ruled himself out of the race.
It is believed that the former BAR and Subaru rallying supremo still thinks costs are too high for a new entry to be viable.
Fry admitted that he thought Bernie Ecclestone’s initial confidence about the prospects of continuing was overstated: “I have to say that I wasn’t quite so sure where his confidence came from.
“But as we’ve gone through this process, my confidence based on what we’ve seen has increased – maybe not to 100 per cent but it’s pretty close.
“We’ve got a team that has benefited from £75m worth of capital investment in the last three years. They have probably got some of the best automotive and other technology in the country, if not the world, and it has got an immensely highly-skilled technical staff led by Ross Brawn.
“So there’s a huge amount going for it.”
But he re-stated earlier remarks by Ross Brawn that securing staff jobs was the top priority: “Neither Ross nor I want to stand there again and say that everything is fine if in one or two years’ time we fall flat on our face again.
“So we are really looking towards a two, three, five year plan for the team.”
Fantastic news for all those Honda and Jenson Button fans out there – and a story that it’s a pleasure to write.