Nick Fry explains green concept
In an exclusive interview with RealHondaF1.com held before today's launch, Honda Racing F1's CEO Nick Fry explained why the team have now decided to follow such a unique path in Formula One, and what it means for the team, the sport and the future.
Suggesting that the team may well have been forced into the new 'earth' concept due to a failure to sign any significant sponsors, Fry was unhesitant in his response.
"I think that's ill founded," he said. "I can understand people coming to that conclusion, but the thing for your readers to understand is that we're now owned 100% by Honda.
"For Honda to want to use the Formula One vehicle, in broad terms, to communicate their story is entirely natural. The story Honda want to get over is that the environment is very important. It's got a long history of doing things: from reforestation projects to being one of the first companies to get rid of two-stroke motors from boats and motorbikes, and go to more efficient four strokes, efficient combustion technology, the first hybrid in Europe and north America, a fuel cell vehicle being available from next year in some markets, and this is a logical progression.
"This Formula One car is seen by the best part of 600 million people around the world every year, so why wouldn't we use it to communicate a Honda message?"
One challenge was to convince the existing sponsors of the merits of the concept, and Nick admits that initial reactions were one of complete shock.
"It was very interesting. The bottom line is [they reacted] very favorably. Most people's reaction is, initially, complete shock because Formula One cars have had sponsors logos for 30 years, so what we're doing here is pioneering in the traditional Honda way. We're always encouraged to try things out, learn from it, and Honda have been very supportive, very much behind this.
"We've been very pleased with the reaction," he continued. "There were 31 sponsors last year. There was one that was going anyway, Intercond, but all the others have got on board and are very supportive of this initiative.
"A lot of people have said this is a new reason to be involved in Formula One, and a couple of the companies that we're going to introduce tomorrow have not been involved in Formula One before, so that's good for the sport."