Honda not for us at the moment, says Prodrive s Richards

Prodrive chairman David Richards has today announced that his organisation is out of the running to take over the Brackley-based Honda Racing F1 team. Richards, a former boss of the Benetton and BAR-Honda F1 teams, had been one of the favourites to step in with Middle Eastern money to rescue the team. But because of the adverse economic circumstances, Richards today admitted that taking over Honda s F1 concern would be too big a step.

“I’ve made it very clear that in the current environment and current circumstances I don’t believe it’s a viable proposition for us,” the former World Rally Championship-winning co-driver told Crash.net Radio.

Richards was also thought to be a likely saviour for Honda because of his efforts to establish Prodrive on the F1 grid in its own right last year. That particular effort came to nothing because of a legal dispute over Prodrive s intention to buy ‘customer cars . Moreover, Richards has a long history of successful association with Formula One, notably when he took over from Craig Pollock as BAR boss in 2001, and leading the team to second place in the Constructors championship in 2004.

Nick Fry, the current CEO of Honda s F1 outfit, announced the other day that the team was considering offers from about twelve potential suitors.

“We had, as you might expect, a huge amount of interest at the start – probably well in excess of 30 groups came to us,” said Fry. “We have narrowed that down to something in the region of a dozen.”

Consultations are ongoing with Honda Motor Company bosses, confirmed Fry. Any takeover deal is more than likely to involve a name change for the team.

He told autosport.com: “We are currently talking to Honda about what is the best bet for the future.”