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Report: Senna has not signed for Honda

NEWS STORY
16/02/2009

The Daily Telegraph, which first reported that Nick Fry is aiming to lead a management buy-out of the Honda F1 team, is dismissing reports that Bruno Senna has signed for the team's new owners, whoever they might be.

Towards the end of last week, a flurry of stories appeared, all suggesting that some sort of deal had been concluded that would allow the team to line up on the grid in Melbourne.

One story claimed that 2008 GP2 Series runner-up Senna had signed for the Brackley team thanks to the backing of a group of Brazilian sponsors including (former Williams sponsor) fuel company Petrobras.

The Telegraph however, claims that the reports are "untrue", alleging that Petrobras has now withdrawn from the original deal which the Brazilian fuel giant agreed with Honda before the Japanese team pulled the plug on its F1 operation in December.

The British newspaper claims that there are three options available to the beleaguered F1 team.

One would see Honda count its losses and close down the operation. The second would see the Japanese manufacturer accept the management buy-out led by Nick Fry and Ross Brawn.

The only other alternative, according to the paper, is a late bid from a new potential purchaser. However, while the potential buyer is described as "reputable" it is said to be a "hostile" bid, certainly in the eyes of certain members of the current management.

"The Honda Motor Co. board have to ask themselves what is best for the shareholders first and then what is best for the 750-strong staff," a source told the newspaper. "If they allow a management takeover to go ahead which then fails this could be deemed negligent; a grave concern for all shareholders.

"Furthermore, will the shareholders be happy to continue funding the F1 team even after Honda have pulled out?" added the source, who, when asked if the Brackley team will be on the grid in Melbourne, replied: "I would say it's 50-50."

While the Honda board considers the various options, Mercedes is said to have huge doubts as to whether to supply powerplants to the team, the German manufacturer worried that the required funding will not be available, certainly in the long term.

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