Honda team sold to Carlos Slim?

UPDATE #3 (GMM) Team boss Ross Brawn has added his denial to reports that Honda Racing F1 is being bought by the Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim.

He admitted that while "a number of interested parties" are in talks with the Brackley based team, any suggestion that Slim or his company Telmex are close to finalizing a deal is not true.

"We would love it if it were true," Brawn told the Daily Telegraph, "but it's pure speculation from various members of the media. It's just been one of those rumors which has developed a life of its own."

Brawn is, however, remaining positive, insisting that "everything is in place" for a buyer to pick up and take the team to the 2009 season opener in Australia.

"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 programs," he said.

"We have enough funding to get us through to Melbourne and we still have a competitive package."

Brawn said there has been so much interest from potential buyers that one of the tasks now is to sort "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."

12/28/08 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. 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.

12/28/08 (GMM) Departing Honda's Brackley based formula one team has been rescued by the second richest man in the world, according to increasingly widespread reports in the wake of Christmas.

The unofficial news was first carried at the weekend by the Italian newspaper La Stampa, which said the Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim has succeeded in buying the team for a symbolic single dollar.

Slim, who controls the telecommunications giant Telmex, was among several interested parties in the Japanese manufacturer's outfit, including David Richards.

La Stampa acknowledged that the news is not official.

"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," the Turin-published newspaper said.

It is believed Slim is prepared to fund the F1 team to the tune of a healthy $300 million per year.

12/27/08 According to reports, the, Carlos Slim, Mexico, the second richest man in the world, has decided to form a Mexican F1 team by buying the remains of Honda F1 Racing. Finding a buyer from Ross Brawn and Nick Fry seems to have been faster than expected.

Slim is 67 years old and is the owner of Telmex, a huge telecommunications company in Latin America (covering 73 percent of the market) that is already present in motorsport supporting Mexican pilots. Word is when they are ready he will move the Mexicans up to F1 and try to get an F1 race in Mexico again.

Current Telmex drivers are Salvador Duran and Pablo Sanchez who in 2008 raced in the World Series by Renault series, Juan Pablo Garcia (Euro F. Renault), Sergio Perez (F.3 English), and Memo Rojas (Grand Am). According to initial reports the drivers for 2009 will be Jenson Button who already had a contract with Honda and Bruno Senna, who is sponsored by Embratel, part of the Telmex group of companies.

Besides Telmex, Slim owns banks, chain restaurants, tobacco plantations and computer retailers, in addition to 3 percent of Apple shares.

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