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Ferrari ready to provide Honda with engines

January 07, 2009 14:31 IST

Formula One champions Ferrari would be prepared to supply engines to whoever takes over the Honda team but nothing has been agreed so far, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

"They [the team management] have asked us if we are able to provide engines and we said yes," he said. "That's it, nothing more."

Any rescue deal would realistically need to be in place by early February if the team are to make the season-opener in Australia on March 29.

Japanese manufacturer Honda, hammered by slumping sales in America and the strong yen, stunned the sport a month ago when they announced they were pulling out both as a constructor and engine provider due to the world financial crisis.

The Brackley-based team, run by former Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn and chief executive Nick Fry, have said several 'global players' are interested without identifying any of them.

A number of wealthy individuals, including former world champion Michael Schumacher and Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, have been held up by the media as possible purchasers only to subsequently deny interest.

Brawn told Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper that Honda remains supportive of efforts to find a buyer and he is confident the team would be on the Melbourne starting grid.

"All I can say is that there are more than one [potential buyer]," said the Briton, whose drivers last year were compatriot Jenson Button and Brazilian Rubens Barrichello. "The aim is to save people's jobs.

"My presence [remaining as team principal] is certainly not a priority," he added when asked whether he hopes to stay at the helm.

Brawn said it would take six weeks' work to modify Honda's 2009 car to accommodate a different engine and the team are unlikely to do any pre-season testing as a result.

Ferrari already supply engines to the Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso team and have spare capacity after Force India, who were powered by the Italian units last year, switched to McLaren-Mercedes.

However they would still need several weeks notice to build the extra engines.

Honda were considered Formula One's biggest spenders last season with an estimated budget of more than US $300 million and no title sponsor other than the carmaker.

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