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Honda's Fry denies conflict of interest

HONDA Racing chief executive Nick Fry denied that he had 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.

"I would like to make clear that Honda motor company, as the owner of the Honda Racing F1 team, will decide on the future of our team following their decision to withdraw from Formula One," Fry said on Friday.

"At all times during the process of securing the future of the team, senior managers from Honda Motor Co. 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 parties to frustrate this process," he added.

Fry said earlier this month that Honda, who announced in December that it was pulling out of the sport due to the global financial situation, was considering around 12 serious offers. He confirmed that process was ongoing.

"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 it does find a buyer, Honda will then have to secure an engine with the season starting in Australia on March 29. However, Mercedes motorsport vice-president Norbert Haug said that the German manufacturer was willing and able to step in.

"They approached (McLaren chief executive) Martin (Whitmarsh) quite a while ago," he said. "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.

"I am not informed currently how the situation at Honda is developing. I think the people there did a good job and we have a good relationship with (team principal) Ross (Brawn)," said Haug.


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