Fry confident ex-Honda team will return

Nick Fry, the chief executive of Honda Racing, said he was confident that the team would be back on track for the start of the new formula one season in March. Since Honda withdrew from the sport five weeks ago due to the global economic crisis, Fry and the team principal, Ross Brawn, have been in talks with a number of prospective new owners. "Right at the start of this process Bernie Ecclestone said he was 100% confident we'd be on the grid in Melbourne," said Fry. "I have to say I wasn't quite so sure where his confidence came from. But as we've gone through this process my confidence, based on what we've seen, has increased. Maybe not to 100% but it's pretty close and it has been very gratifying."

Fry confirmed he and Brawn are now in talks with Honda in Japan about which of the offers would represent the best way forward for the company. "It's looking very positive at the moment," said Fry.

"We had, as you might expect, a huge amount of interest at the start – probably well in excess of 30 groups came to us. We have narrowed that down to something in the region of a dozen and we're currently talking to Honda about what is the best bet for the future." Fry maintains "the future" is not just about getting through this season, but from 2010 and beyond. "Many of the potential owners have been kind enough to talk about this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, to get something which does have the chance to do very well in the next couple of years," remarked Fry.

"In this economic environment it is difficult, there is no doubt about it, and we've got to be careful that we look not just at 2009, which frankly is the least of our worries. It really is making sure we have a long-term future for the staff.

"Neither Ross nor I want to stand there and say that everything is fine if, in one or two years' time, we fall flat on our face again. So we are really looking towards a two, three, five-year plan for the team."

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