Honda website
Honda website

MARCH 23, 2009

Another entry list...

The FIA has announced the definitive entry list, allowing for a change in the status of Brawn GP. The team is now officially a new entrant in Formula 1, but the FIA has agreed that it will waive the fee for joining the championship. The reasoning behind this move is that the contract that the Honda team had with the FIA stated that the team would run under the Honda banner.

The team is not in a position to do that and so contractually it had to be a differently-named entity, while in reality being the same company.

It is an arcane point but one that is legally significant because of the way that the benefits in Formula 1 are paid out. The travel and prize monies that were earned by Honda would have to have been paid to Honda. They might then have paid these to Brawn (but only might). The Formula One group might perhaps argue that Honda has broken the commercial contract that existed between the commercial rights holder and the car company until the end of 2012 and might be seeking damages for that.

That being the case, FOM could not really pay out the money to Brawn without breaking the contract itself, thus weakening any legal action. There is, however, nothing to stop everyone in F1 agreeing to divide the money in a different way, to include Brawn. That would have nothing to do with Honda.

Brawn did get a massive "dowry" from Honda - it is rumoured to have been as much as $180m - and perhaps the team does not even need the FOM money to survive in 2009.