Mercedes to power Honda team?

UPDATE #2 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Force India owner Vijay Mallya has said that Mercedes have been given a special dispensation to supply engines to the former Honda Formula One team this season. The Indian billionaire, whose team are also powered by the German manufacturer and could have objected to them supplying other rivals, added that he expected 10 teams to be back on the starting grid in Australia on March 29.

"Under the FIA regulations, an engine supplier can supply two teams," Mallya said. "So logically that would have been Mercedes supplying (their partners) McLaren and Force India. The FIA, I believe, have given special dispensation to Mercedes to supply an engine only to the former Honda team for one year. I'm quite happy to just accept that in the interests of the sport because we've had one team disappear from the grid, Super Aguri in 2008, and I'd hate to see another team disappear in 2009. If Honda, in whatever new shape or form, can remain on the grid in 2009 then it's good for the sport of Formula One."

01/13/09 Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug told Autosport that Mercedes could supply the former Honda team with engines in 2009, provided any takeover leaves the team on a sound financial footing.

"If there is a feasible solution with an investor for that team, we would be prepared to discuss it," Haug told "But the financial background needs to be there.

"You cannot give any presents at this time and in this (financial) climate, but we would like to help for the sake of Formula One. Ross Brawn and Nick Fry and their guys have done a good job so far, so if we could be in a position to help we certainly could try to do so.

"But the financial feasibility is very important. It needs to be 100 per cent bulletproof."

01/13/09 As we suggested last week, it is quite likely that the Honda team will use Mercedes-Benz engines in 2009. The team will be renamed but at the moment there is no word on what it will be called. Ferrari has all-but announced that it will not be supplying engines for the team, which would seem to suggest that the team has a limited number of options, but we believe that negotiations are well-advanced with Mercedes-Benz.

The team will not be getting much in the way of pre-season testing (if any) and so it is going to be starting a little behind the opposition but much effort has gone into the 2009 program and so the team hopes to be relatively competitive.

The discussions over who will own the team are ongoing but a decision is expected within a few days. We believe there will be a management buyout.

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