Honda Racing team principal Ross Brawn has earmarked Monday 23 February as the day when the future of the team will be decided. Recent reports have linked the embattled squad – still without a major backer with only just over a month before the 2009 season starts – to Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. The team has acknowledged there are other bidders, and Brawn told German newspaper Blick that some sort of decision would emerge ”on Monday”.
British newspaper the Guardian acquiesced, reporting that possible engine supplier Mercedes Benz had laid the same deadline for the squad. The German manufacturer is reported to be offering engines to the ex-Honda team at the going rate of â‚¬8m per season, but wants to be sure that the team can pay before anything concrete is agreed.
The other bidders in the frame are thought to be a consortium led by the two bosses of the race team, Brawn and Nick Fry. Brazilian telecommunications firm Embratel – who sponsor Bruno Senna – could provide further money if their charge were to partner Jenson Button in the car for 2009.
Honda Motor Company are thought to have given the team a deadline of 28 February to finalise a deal, or the team will be closed. The Tokyo bosses are reported to be unwilling to cut their losses like that, however, as it would cost them millions in redundancy payments.