London, Thursday: The British Parliament is currently debating a motion to “criticise and condemn” the BBC after the corporation refused to air an appeal asking for someone to buy the embattled Honda Formula One team.
With the end of January rapidly approaching, and hence the deadline for the team to find a buyer before the Japanese manufacturer ceases operations at its F1 outfit, no buyer has yet been found, though consistent rumours of a management buyout have been circulating without substantiation for some time.
The BBC said that asking for money to help fund the F1 team for 2009 and beyond would compromise its long-held requirement for neutrality, particularly because they did not help the collapsing Super Aguri team in 2008, when Honda withdrew its support for the Japanese privateer team.
“It’s a disgrace,” said Reginald Scrotum, Conservative MP for the Cotswold constituency of Bigotry & Shouting. “This is not about taking sides in a long-running dispute between the F1 team and its Japanese backers. It is about safeguarding the jobs of hundreds of Honda employees, who are about to lose their livelihoods through no fault of their own.”
The BBC, however, has so far refused to back down, prompting whispers from some that a suspicious “pro-Japan lobby” has been involved in the decision-making processes of the national broadcasters.
The appeal is rumoured to show pictures of a destitute Jenson Button standing outside the Honda factory in Brackley with a battered “1st place” cap held out for loose change (although where he nicked that from is not yet known). A booming voiceover then asks viewers to donate “just £1” to save the Honda team, with “and a projected annual budget of £160 million” in very tiny lettering at the foot of the screen. The appeal ends with a tearful Nick Fry staring innocently into the camera, mouthing the word “Please.”