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Change of image for Honda

NEWS STORY
09/02/2006

19 Entertainment, the company owned by Simon Fuller, the man behind the Spice Girls and Pop Idol, has signed a deal with Honda Racing, which will see the Japanese-owned F1 team given a "new image".

The precise details of the company's remit are not known, but it is understood that Honda Racing wants a brighter, brasher image, more akin to Red Bull's 'yoof' persona, an image that will also appeal to non-race fans.

The decision seems odd, especially when one considers that Honda spends much of its time talking of its past, however, if Mr Fuller will prevent Jenson Button from unleashing any more of his cringeworthy mobile phone 'videos', we say bring it on.

One man who is delighted to see the move is Bernie Ecclestone, who is forever trying to 'glitz' up F1's image, welcoming rock stars, movie stars and whatever other celebrities he can find, to the paddock whenever possible.

"I am delighted," he told The Times. "This is exactly the direction teams should be taking to broaden the entertainment and sporting appeal of Formula One to a global audience."

"The competition now for an audience is not just within motor racing but comes from Desperate Housewives and Chelsea Football Club," added Honda Racing's Nick Fry. "We want kids to grow up saying they want to be a racing driver when, at the moment, they want to be pop stars or footballers."

As Mike Lawrence has previously pointed out on Pitpass, it wasn't that long ago when racing drivers were the celebrities... what went wrong?

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