With Honda hoping to resume negotiations with potential purchasers for their Formula One team, one persistent rumour over the past week has been quelled. It was suggested on various websites that Carlos Slim, a very wealthy Mexican businessman, had signed a deal that would see him take over the team before the start of the 2009 season in March. However, a spokesperson for Slim has denied any negotiations in a hope to stop the speculation.
Ross Brawn and Nick Fry have stated that little has changed since before Christmas and will now continue discussions with the apparent four interested parties to see who can and cannot afford to run the team into the future. Speaking to British newspaper The Telegraph, Brawn said that the Slim rumour was just that, pure speculation.
We would love it if it were true, but it’s pure speculation from various members of the media. It’s just been one of those rumours which has developed a life of its own.
There has been a huge amount of interest. It’s now got to the stage where we need to filter out the serious from the not so serious. We’re all hopeful that something will happen and we’re anxious to turn up the wick again in the new year. Ross Brawn.
Meanwhile, Nick Fry insisted that preparations for the first race of the year were still going ahead as planned, although it is unlikely the squad will attend the upcoming tests, something which will undoubtedly hurt the team should they be saved.
While it would be inappropriate to comment on any one potential purchaser of the team, Ross and I are very pleased with the level and calibre of interest in our team and we hope that we can bring this to a conclusion by the end of January. In the meantime, preparations for Melbourne continue. Nick Fry.
Perhaps the strongest of the names that have been so far associated with the Brackley squad is former Honda team principal Dave Richards. Richards tried to enter Formula One two years ago after winning the then-twelfth grid slot, beating other names like Eddie Irvine, Jean Alesi and Paul Stoddart. However, with a change due in the rules regarding customer chassis, Richards pulled the plug and ended talks with McLaren that would have likely seen the Woking team support Richards’s Prodrive operation. McLaren will now support Force India with Mercedes supplying engines.
There is also talk of a Middle Eastern consortium looking at buying the team, but they had a rather disappointing reception with Honda previously when Super Aguri was put up for sale earlier in the season. While perhaps the circumstances were different then, it is my belief from what has been rumoured so far that Richards appears to be in the best position, especially now that Subaru have withdrawn from the World Rally Championship. This frees up resources at Prodrive who will be looking to fill the gap.