The very quiet Christmas season was disturbed by the story in Italian papers La Stampa. The story has since been denied by both camps – Carlos Slim and Honda (see bottom of this article). The article posted on December 27 suggests that Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim has put his cash into the Honda F1 team:
“The news is not official as all the details have yet to be formalised. But two things are certain – the team has been saved and the drivers will be Jenson Button and rookie Bruno Senna.”
Bruno Senna connection does make sense. He has been one of the drivers considered and tested in Barcelona by Honda F1 prior to Honda’s withdrawal announcement. Also Bruno Senna has been sponsored by Embratel (subsidiary of Slim’s Telmex) since 2006.
As Jose Arellano commented earlier on different post Carlos Slim’s Telmex has been involved in motorsport for quite a while supporting teams and drivers in many different racing series – T Sport in British Formula 3, Chip Ganassi team in the USA for example. Telmex has also been supporting development of Mexican drivers through its “stairway” concept that starts in series such as Barber Dodge Formula, German BMW Formula, British Formula 3, Atlantic Formula, Formula Renault, the now defunct Champ Car, even NASCAR. Some similarities with Red Bull’s junior driver program come to mind here.
Formula 1 seems to be the natural step up for Carlos Slim. Let’s see how this story develops. Autosport for now believes any deal for Honda F1 team is yet to be finalized. According to Autosport Carlos Slim is only one of four parties talking to Honda (besides David Richards and his Kuwait backers Investment Dar Company, Greek shipping magnate Achilleas Kallakis and an unidentified Swiss group) and no announcement should be expected before end of the year.
Both Carlos Slim’s Telmex and Honda acted quickly to deny this stroy:
Ross Brawn (to The Daily Telegraph):
“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.”
Nick Fry to autosport.com:
“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.”
“Escuderia Telmex informs that Carlos Slim Helu has not acquired nor has any negotiations for this aim with the Honda Formula One team. All the information on this subject lacks foundation and is completely false.”