In the immediate aftermath, some would say calm, following on from the final round of the F1 championship I managed to snatch a chat with Ross Brawn about this most remarkable season.

Ross is the kind of guy who mingles compassion and concern with a razor-sharp competitive edge.

He and Honda F1 CEO Nick Fry had been summoned to what they expected to be a routine management meeting at Heathrow hotel last November only to find the place literally crowded out with Japanese executives whose message was breathtaking.

Without mincing any words, they said "right, we’re closing the team and now we’d like you to move into another meeting where we will discuss the details of how that is going to be implemented".

It took Ross and Nick some time to compose themselves and think of the best way forward.

In that first meeting they at least managed to inquire as to whether Honda would be interested in them going out to try finding a buyer. Only later did Ross and Nick think in terms of a management buyout, and then only really because all the efforts to find a third party buyer proved fruitless.

“They had given no thought to finding a buyer as it was the view that, in the current economic crisis, nobody would be interested,” said Ross. “It was only during the meeting that Nick and myself asked them whether they would mind if we tried to find a buyer for the team.

"They were clearly surprised at this because their view was that the team was unsaleable. Equally, the notion of a management buy-out is something virtually unknown in Japanese business circles.”

Thank heavens Ross introduced to the concept, is all I can say.

If Honda had been taken at their original word the F1 grid would have taken another unwelcome hit and the implications for employment in the UK’s ‘motorsport valley’ would have been absolutely dire.

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