As if things couldn’t get any worse for the beleaguered Honda team, Ferrari have said that they would be unlikely to supply engine units to the squad should they be saved and on the Melbourne grid in March. The news comes after Honda stated they were completely withdrawing from Formula One, both the team and the engine operations. Former Ferrari employee Ross Brawn had been in talks with Maranello, but today the news was bad.
Ferrari currently supply Scuderia Toro Rosso with engine units and had up until the final race of last year, also supplied Force India. With Vijay Mallya choosing to end his agreement with Ferrari in favour of Mercedes-Benz, it had been hoped that Honda could pick up the supply. Alas, it would seem that supplying one other team is enough for the Scuderia.
I can tell you about the chances of giving Honda engines… the likelihood is close to zero. Stefano Domenicali.
Honda are still preparing the 2009 challenger while in the background, team chiefs are busy working away on finding a purchaser. According to Nick Fry, there are 12 potential parties interested, and the rumour is that Fry and Brawn could be interested themselves. However, Brawn has stated that it would take about six weeks to modify the RA109 to accommodate a new engine unfamiliar with the team, which gives the squad until about the end of January, bearing in the mind the cars have to shipped over to Australia quite early.
The team could lean on Renault, but the French manufacturer already supplies Red Bull Racing. Mercedes have a deal with Force India, but have suggested in the past that they could accommodate another team. Cosworth have recently entered the mix with Max Mosley’s standard engine idea, but it is highly unlikely they would be able to produce a power unit in time. Elsewhere on the grid, Toyota have the facilities, but already supply Williams which just leaves BMW.
Max Mosley wants the big manufacturers to supply other teams with cheap engines, and the pressure may now be applied to the Munich-based manufacturer to provide Honda with some units. But of course, this is all assuming the team can be saved. So far though, it seems the obstacles just keep on coming.
Image © HondaF1.