Honda F1 – The interested parties – Richards, Slim, Mallya and others

Prodrive - They gave up on 2008 entry, will they make it in 2009 ?

Prodrive - They gave up on 2008 entry, will they make it in 2009 ?

Many different parties have already been connected with the purchase of Honda F1 Racing. Some names were making some sense, some were just rubbish stories. But Nick Fry seems to be confident the buyer will be found:

“We have had a high level of interest in the team since Honda Motor Co. announced their withdrawal from Formula One. Since that time, Ross (Brawn) and I have been engaged in ongoing discussions with several serious potential new owners who have expressed an interest in purchasing the team. Work on the development and build of our 2009 car continues during the next few weeks to ensure that our objective of being on the grid at Melbourne at the end of March will be achieved.”

Some insight into how the search is going was expected early in January but bits of  information made it to the medias yesterday already.

Not surprisingly the most serious candidate is the one connected with the Honda purchase from the very moment Honda pulled the plug on its F1 team – David Richards. The reports on Sunday suggest that he travelled to Middle East for talks with his backers :

“There are a group of people in the Middle East who want to support a Formula One entry for me and have been very specific about it for a year now. But we have to agree when the timing is right.”

The question obviously is, if the timing is right.

“When you sit down in the cold light of day and realise the liability you would be taking on, and the huge restructuring of staff and resources that will be needed, investors will have to think long and hard before taking a punt. You will have to bridge a big gap in finance, probably for three years, before balancing the accounts. The big question remains: Is it too big a challenge at this moment in time? That’s what I need to determine.”

This very much confirms at least the fact that David Richards and Prodrive are looking into the Honda purchase.I am not sure how happy would Nick Fry be should the Prodrive deal work out. Fry is the one who pushed Richards out of the BAR Honda team following their (most) successful 2004 season …

While David Richards interest in Honda F1 team is no surprise, I really do not know what to think about the 2 other suitors mentioned by usually reliable Autosport website (quoting Daily Mail as source) – Greek shipping tycoon Achilleas Kallakis and Force India boss Vijay Mallya. Unlike Autosport story however the original Daily Mail article suggests that the rescue plan that involved also Vijay Mallya reached an impasse. But still, why would Vijay Mallya even want to get involved with another team ? One Force is not enough ? Can’t he remember that following his purchase of Spyker he stopped sponsoring Toyota ? And that sure was much smaller side business than purchase of another team would be … Makes no sense.

At the same time The Sun reports that another serious candidate is Mexican billionaire and allegedly the 2nd richest person in the world Carlos Slim. His takeover could be good news for Bruno Senna, as he is sponsored by one of Slim’s companies – Embratel. I am not sure how reliable The Sun is …

In the meantime both 2006-2008 Honda drivers pin their 2009 F1 hopes on their current team. But while Button has received some supportive words from his current bosses and also from David Richards I haven’t spotted much support for Barrichello from anyone yet…

Photo: Prodrive

18 Comments Post a Comment
  1. DankNo Gravatar says:

    Apparently funding from Kuwait might be a bit tight as Investment Dar is struggling in these economic times.

    According to Grandprix.com the Hyundai Kia Automotive Group might be looking to invest and boost their profile on a worldwide scale.

  2. Jose ArellanoNo Gravatar says:

    i hope carlos slim buys it!. he already sponspors a lot of mexican drivers in championships around the world. have you seen cars with TELMEX logo on it. (british f3, World series by renault, formula bmw. etc. etc..) he likes racing thats a fact….

  3. ChristineNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t see Mallya buying it. Hard enough running one team, and Red Bull have proven that it’s not simply a matter of throwing money at the problem.

  4. [...] Honda F1 – The interested parties – Richards, Slim, Mallya and others – F1 WolfA look at the potential buyers of the Honda F1 team. [...]

  5. zblkhwkNo Gravatar says:

    I heard a rumor over the weekend that the team was for sale for $1 with stipulations requiring them to race for a period of time. Anybody else hear anything?

    • F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

      yes, Honda is willing to offload the team and all te faciltieas for a dollar or pound or euro as long as someoneone picks up the bill for running the team. recently Mosley said that Honda may even continue to support the new buyer during 2009 season to help the new owners to get through the first year

  6. zblkhwkNo Gravatar says:

    That would seem to be an easy sale for anyone wanting to enter F1.

    • F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

      yes, but the new owners would still have to come up with at least some $100 million a year to keep the team afloat and reasonably competitive. and Honda had almost no sponsors – there were some – Seiko, Eneos, Ray Ban, but without any branding car I do not think they paid that much sponsorship money. so, still steep hill to climb for new owners, but yes, a golden opportunity for anyone with F1 plans …

  7. Vol CarsNo Gravatar says:

    Mallya thinks that it might be just like an acquisition of a company and things will be taken care of by the BOD’s. He might have already realized that running an F1 team is not a cake-walk. I don’t there ll be any deal taking place…

  8. NieuweNo Gravatar says:

    Lol maybe Skoda will enter a team :)

  9. F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

    that will not happen, ever :-) but there were rumours about Skoda F1 way back in 2002 when Arrows went bust and VW were rumoured to be one of the potential buyers. did not happen then, will not happen in the future :-)

  10. [...] Jose Arellano commented earlier on different post Carlos Slim’s Telmex has been involved in motorsport for quite a while supporting teams and [...]

  11. Lets hope Honda find a buyer soon, as it won’t be the same without Jenson Button on the grid in 2009
    We will only have 1 british driver if Jenson dosen’t get a drive for 2009

    http://www.f1memorabilia.net

  12. [...] been strongly denied by both parties but according to optimistic Ross Brawn the negotiations with several interested parties (probably also including Prodrive) are going on. Some announcement is expected around end of [...]

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