x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Mexican billionaire denies Honda talks

The Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim distances himself from reports he is in talks to take over the Honda Formula One team.

Carlos Slim has distanced himself from a takeover of Honda but the F1 team still hope to be on the grid in Melbourne.
Carlos Slim has distanced himself from a takeover of Honda but the F1 team still hope to be on the grid in Melbourne.

The billionaire Carlos Slim has denied he is in talks to take over the Honda Formula One team. Reports in Italy had linked the Mexican businessman, who owns telecommunications firm Telmex and a racing team, with a takeover of Honda, who were put up for sale by the Japanese car manufacturers earlier this month. The Telmex racing team issued a statement on their website quashing suggestions any deal had been done. "The Telmex Team can confirm that Carlos Slim Helu has not bought the Honda Formula One team nor is holding any negotiations to do so, therefore all information related to this subject has no basis and is completely false," it read. The team principal Ross Brawn backed up the denial from Telmex but added that negotiations with a number of interested parties, believed to include at least one Middle East consortium, are continuing. A deadline of next month has been set to find an investor and Brawn revealed Honda could stay in business through to the season opener in Melbourne at the end of March. Brawn said: "There has been a huge amount of interest. It's now got to the stage where we need to filter out the serious from the not so serious. "We're all hopeful that something will happen and we're anxious to turn up the wick again in the new year. "We haven't really lost anything yet as it has still only been a few weeks. Everything is in place although we have had to turn down various programmes. "We have enough funding to get us through to Melbourne and we still have a competitive package."

Despite its huge resources, Honda had a dismal 2008 season and was pinning its hopes on next year's new rules levelling the playing field. Button, a winner for Honda in Hungary in 2006, scored just three points while Barrichello took 11. The team finished ninth overall. *With agencies