Honda has acquired 45 per cent equity in the BAR F1 team and, as a result, Nick Fry will replace David Richards as chief executive of the Brackley-based team.

Honda has acquired 45 per cent equity in the BAR F1 team and, as a result, Nick Fry will replace David Richards as chief executive of the Brackley-based team.


Under the new agreement, British American Tobacco (BAT) will own 55 per cent and Honda 45 per cent of a new joint venture company planned to replace the current BAR ownership structure.


Prodrive, the company led by David Richards, was contracted under a consultancy agreement by BAT in 2001 to restructure the management of the team and put the team into a position to challenge for the World Championship. As a result of Honda’s buy-in, BAT and Prodrive will conclude the consultancy contract.


"We were brought in by BAT to secure its long-term future and that is what we have done,” Richards said. “I am immensely proud of what Prodrive has achieved in a shorter time than anticipated. I believe that BAR Honda is now in a very healthy position to continue its pursuit of the world championship.”


The succession planning put in place by Prodrive will see Fry replace Richards, but Geoff Willis will remain as the team's technical director. Richards will provide support on various transitional issues at BAR until the end of February.


Honda will appoint directors to the board of BAR, and will add a number of key personnel to the 30 engineers who have been located at the team's Brackley headquarters for some time, under the joint chassis development programme. The day-to-day management and operation of the team are unaffected by the ownership restructure and will continue to function as before.