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Honda's Fry denies sale conflict

Honda Racing
Honda quit Formula One in December

Honda Racing chief executive Nick Fry has denied having any conflict of interest in leading efforts to find a buyer for the Formula One team.

Reports have suggested the Briton is trying to organise a management buyout while also vetting would-be purchasers.

Honda Racing is up for sale following their withdrawal from Formula One.

"I would like to make clear that Honda motor company, as owner of the Honda Racing F1 team, will decide on the future of our team," said Fry.

"At all times during the process of securing the future of the team, senior managers from Honda Motor Company have been present at our headquarters in Brackley to assist in making decisions and we have taken legal advice at all times to ensure no conflict of interest.

"It is evident that attempts are being made by certain external parties to frustrate this process."

Meanwhile, Tim Boswell, MP for South Northamptonshire, has passed on concerns expressed to him about the situation to the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (BERR).

However, BERR's position is that it has no role in investigating a private sale of the team.

"All I know is that someone raised concerns with me on Tuesday night, rather late, in connection with the transparency of the bidding," Boswell told the BBC.

"I'm not aware of who their principals are, and I'm not sure I want to know.

"I passed on their concerns and contacts to BERR.

"It's only because there were allegations of what seemed a conflict of interest it seemed it should be looked at. I'm not making allegations myself because I don't know.

"Ministers have to take a view on whether they have any concerns. My predominant interest is to try to make sure we get Honda to a successful sale, and avoid a lot of redundancies."

Fry said earlier this month that Honda, who announced their decision to pull out of F1 in December because of the global financial crisis, were considering around 12 serious offers.

And he remains confident that Honda can still have a team on the starting grid at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on 29 March.

"We will not be deterred from our focus of securing a positive future for the team and our 700 employees and achieving our target of lining up on the grid in Melbourne for the start of the 2009 season," he said.

If they do find a buyer, Honda will then have to secure an engine supplier.

Mercedes vice-president Norbert Haug says the German manufacturer is willing and able to step in, stating: "The timing is anything other than fantastic obviously but we still could do it.

"There is not a deadline like tomorrow or next week, but of course time is running out."

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see also
Four-month shutdown for Honda UK
16 Jan 09 |  Business
Richards cool on Honda takeover
09 Jan 09 |  Formula One
Honda weigh up 'a dozen offers'
08 Jan 09 |  Formula One
Teams unite in cost-cutting plan
08 Jan 09 |  Formula One
Billionaire Slim denies Honda bid
29 Dec 08 |  Formula One
Global crisis ends Honda F1 era
05 Dec 08 |  Formula One
Button hopeful over Honda future
08 Dec 08 |  Formula One

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