No Honda F1 buyout, says Mexican billionaire
3 hours ago
MEXICO CITY (AFP) — Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim has not bought the Honda Formula One team and is not even in negotiations for the Japanese outfit, a source at the businessman's industrial and financial empire said on Sunday.
"There is no deal for the Honda team. There is neither agreement nor negotiations," the source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Honda, with an annual racing budget of around 400 million dollars, pulled out of the Formula One world championship earlier this month and was put up for sale with the Japanese manufacturer struggling in the current global economic slowdown.
Earlier Sunday, Slim's son had also told the Mexican media that reports of a deal to save Honda were also without foundation.
On Saturday, Italian newspaper La Stampa claimed that Slim, who they described as the world's second richest man, was poised to buy the Honda team.
"The saviour has arrived at the last minute: Carlos Slim, 67 years old, the second richest man in the world," said the newspaper.
"The news is not official as all the details have yet to be formalised. But two things are certain - the team has been saved and the drivers will be Jenson Button and rookie Bruno Senna in place of Rubens Barrichello."
La Stampa, which did not identify the source of its story, added that Senna, the nephew of former triple world champion Ayrton Senna, is sponsored by Embratel, part of Slim's Telmex group.
Honda first competed in F1 in 1964 and clocked up three Grand Prix wins, including Button's in Hungary in 2006.
Its engines were also behind dozens of victories by stars such as Nelson Piquet, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost.
The team finished ninth in the constructors championship this season with 14 points.
Veteran driver Barrichello achieved the team's best result with a third-place finish at Silverstone.
Honda Motor also supplied engines and other technical support to Formula One team Super Aguri, which called it quits due to financial problems in May.
Motorsport in Japan had been particularly hit by the recession with Subaru and Suzuki pulling out of the world rally championship.
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