The speculation that the former Honda Racing F1 team has been tossed a lifeline and will be on the starting grid in 2009 was right - Honda Motor Company Limited and Ross Brawn have confirmed that they've reached an agreement to secure the future of the former Honda squad.
With immediate effect, Honda will pass ownership to Ross Brawn, the team principal of the new Brawn GP Formula One Team (as it will now be known, pending approval by the FIA).
Brawn GP has secured an engine supply, again as also strongly speculated in recent weeks, with Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines
The team has also confirmed that its race driver line-up for the 2009 season is unchanged from last year, with two of Formula One's most experienced drivers in Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello returning to continue their partnership at the team for a fourth consecutive year, forming the most experienced driver partnership on the grid with 423 grand prix starts between them.
"The past few months have been extremely challenging for the team but today's announcement is the very pleasing conclusion to the strenuous efforts that have been made to secure its future," a relieved Ross Brawn said.
"Firstly, it is a great shame that having worked with Honda Motor Company for so long we can no longer continue together. I would like to thank Honda for the fantastic co-operation and support we have received throughout this process - particularly those members of the senior management who were closely involved with concluding our agreement - and for the faith they have demonstrated in myself and our team."
Brawn also said that the experience and knowledge that both drivers bring to the team will prove invaluable as the late-starting squad attempts to get up to speed in the shortest possible time to be ready for the season's opener - in Melbourne on March 29.
Brawn GP will now focus its efforts on the remaining pre-season tests - in Barcelona next week and Jerez (March 15-17) - prior to heading to Australia for the start of the 2009 Formula One season.
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