Tue, Feb 24, 2009 - Page 18 News List

Honda says few ‘serious’ bidders for Formula One team

UNCERTAIN TIMES: The future of drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello is in limbo with the possibility that the team will be disbanded

AFP , TOKYO

Honda said yesterday that talks over the sale of its Formula One team were proving tough with few “serious” bidders.

“The reality is that talks are proceeding with great difficulty,” Honda Motor president Takeo Fukui said.

Honda has received several proposals, “but actually there are very few who are serious about buying it,” he said at a news conference to announce his retirement in June.

The Japanese carmaker announced its shock withdrawal from F1 in December because of the global financial crisis, leaving the future of drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello in limbo.

Honda has not ruled out the option of disbanding the team, but says it still hopes to reach a deal in time for the start of the next season on March 29.

Racing “is very challenging but also fun,” said Takanobu Ito, the 55-year-old engineer who will replace Fukui.

“Unfortunately, our company has a slight cold right now. But we would like to cure this cold as quickly as possible and work towards reaching that happiness” of racing, he said.

Last week Japan’s second largest automaker said that it was in talks with potential buyers including British tycoon Richard Branson’s Virgin Group.

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