F1 teams change hands all the time, but when a major manufacturer pulls out of the sport, it's bound to trigger a rumor mill of tsunamic proportions. And that's exactly what's been going on in the motorsport press following Honda's announcement to cancel its F1 program.
First came rumors that Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim was to buy the team, but those reports were later denied. Ferrari, meanwhile, has confirmed discussions with Ross Brawn, formerly the Scuderia's technical director and now head of the Honda F1, over the prospect of supplying engines to the team if and when a new buyer is found. (Last year Ferrari supplied both Toro Rosso and Force India, but the latter has switched to Mercedes for the upcoming season.) Brawn and his colleague Nick Fry are reportedly speaking to a number of potential buyers (Prodrive's David Richards possibly still among them), but while the asking price for the team must be lower than usual given the economy and Honda's motivation to sell, sources don't expect the list includes any automakers. (For our part, we wouldn't be surprised to see Hyundai make an offer.) Some reports suggested that Michael Schumacher – with whom Brawn built a close relationship during their tenure at Ferrari, and who races occasionally with Honda on two wheels – could get involved, but Schumi's own spokespeople have denied the rumors. For his part, Brawn has stated his number one priority is securing the jobs of the team's many employees, but even that might prove to be a tall order during these troubled times.
[Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty]