Having announced its plans to quit Formula One, Honda could be set to find a buyer for its Brackley-based team in a matter of days rather than weeks.

The Japanese manufacturer revealed on Friday that it was to pull out of the sport due to the current global economic climate, which has hit the car market hard.

Sales of Honda models have dropped dramatically - as they have for other manufacturers - while the company has also revealed that it will close its factory in Swindon for a period early next year due to the slowing demand for new cars.

Having been set a deadline to find a buyer for the outfit to avoid closure, Honda F1 Racing chief Nick Fry has already revealed that a number of parties have declared serious interest in the team.

The fact that all the infrastructure is in place, and that development of the 2009 car is already at an advanced stage, would make the Honda outfit an attractive option for an potential buyer - with the fact that Honda have pledged to continue supporting the team in the short-term also set to work in its favour.

"The RA109, our 2009 F1 contender, is our first car developed under the technical leadership of Ross Brawn," Fry said. "With the resources Ross has at his disposal and confirmation that Honda will provide the necessary support to complete the car in time for the first race in Melbourne, I am sure that we can still have a very successful 2009 season if a new owner can be found.

"One new major sponsor is already signed for 2009 and discussions are well advanced with others. Offers of support from around the world have been generous and I'm sure that with that kind of goodwill towards the team, we have a good chance of competing even in this difficult economic situation.

"We want to make sure that we have the right owner for the team to enable us to continue at the right level. There is no doubt in my mind that Formula One can have a good future and that this team can be part of it."

Who that right owner will be, if indeed one is found, remains to be seen, but according to Britain's Daily Telegraph, a deal could be struck in a matter of days rather than weeks.

The 'paper quotes a well-placed source as stating that team principal Brawn is in advanced negotiations with a prospective buyer and could know by the end of the weekend if a deal will be struck.

Speculation suggests that the current favourite could be a man with previous history with the team in the shape of Prodrive chief David Richards - who ran the BAR team before it was before it was bought out by Honda.

Richards had hoped to be on the Formula One grid with his own team in 2008 before Prodrive was forced to shelve its entry plans due to the ongoing customer car row - with the team having planned to run a customer McLaren chassis.

While any potential buyer would need to show Honda they could safeguard the future of the team, there is the chance that the team could be purchased for a nominal fee, although it is expected that any new owner would run to a smaller budget and therefore job losses would be likely.

Aside from Prodrive, Honda's decision to put the F1 team up for sale could be of interest to the likes of Franz Josef Weigl, Adrian Campos and Alejandro Agag, all of whom were linked with Super Aguri before the team's closure back in May, and Ultimate Motorsport, who were linked with Toro Rosso earlier in the year.

Dubai Investment Capital are also rumoured to be interested in purchasing the team.


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment