It would appear that reports of the Honda works team's demise may have been premature, as the group behind the plan stresses that it will be in F1 next season.

Honda Racing Development (HRD) was set up to conduct testing and race preparation of the Honda works entry in the year before it joined the F1 circus, and insists that, despite setbacks, it will be on the grid next season. The organisation's first few months have not been without incident, however, as reports have continually circulated that Honda management in Japan may yet pull the financial plug on the programme while, just last week, the man behind the project, Dr Harvey Postlethwaite suffered a fatal heart attack during a test session in Barcelona.

Postlethwaite's right-hand man, team director Rupert Mainwaring, maintains that the project will continue in spite of the problems, however.

"Losing Harvey is tragic and, of course, we are very upset and shocked," he said, "But Harvey and I put together a fine team, so there are no problems continuing as we are for now. We are absolutely flat out here. I've never seen such determination - all the emotion is being converted into a determination to keep going. We're not waiting for any decision [from Japan]. Part of the problem is that no-one knows what we are doing thanks to out policy of no publicity, although this will change in the future."

The team's next test - scheduled for Jerez this week - has been shelved out of respect for Postlethwaite, but HRD will be back on track at Lurcy-Levis at the beginning of May, before running twice a month for the rest of the year. Driver Jos Verstappen will soon have two chassis at his disposal, before HRD announces a second test driver to run alongside the Dutchman.



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