The team formerly known as Honda is said to be preparing their 2009 car, the RA109, for testing. The news comes despite no formal acknowledgement of any buyer of the Brackley-based outfit, and continued speculation around the future of the team. However, autosport.com reports that the team has been issued with instructions to continue preparations for the season, including shakedowns and pre-season testing.
Furthermore, a team source indicated to the BBC that instructions to proceed with the testing programme – which continues at Jerez next week – meant that an engine deal had been done. If the engine deal is from Mercedes-Benz, this would signify that a buyer has been found, because the German manufacturer has stipulated that it would not provide engines unless a future was secure.
”We’re carrying on as if we’re going to Melbourne. There’s no way we’d go to any test without an engine deal … if we’re going to Jerez, it means it’s a done deal,” the source said.
Some quarters of the press are reporting that Michael Schumacher had been invited to pour some of his personal wealth into the team. The seven-time world champion had previously been linked with the team through his friendship and experience with Honda F1 team principal Ross Brawn, but his involvement remains a rumour. Equally, speculation that Honda F1 CEO Nick Fry has been elbowed out of the team is yet to be substantiated.