With the start of the 2009 Formula One championship approaching, reports from the motorsport press are suggesting that Honda's F1 team may be starting this season after all. Honda had announced it was withdrawing from the sport after last season, leaving team leaders Nick Fry and Ross Brawn to look for new funding. And if those reports are to be believed, they may have found it. Some of it, anyway.

Without Honda's active participation, the team is speculated to run customer engines supplied by Mercedes-Benz. The task of securing financial backing, however, was made all the more difficult by team sponsor Petrobras' decision to withdraw from Formula One as well. But sources suggest that Honda may have found it more cost-effective to help keep the team afloat for a while longer rather than having to offer its employees severance packages. Additional funding is said to have come from the personal backers of Bruno Senna, nephew of the late great Ayrton Senna, who was tipped to partner Jenson Button at the team for this season before Honda pulled the plug. Lastly, reports indicate that F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone may be backing the orphaned team out of his own business interests. But the $30 million in funding reported may only be enough to get the former Honda team on the grid for the first four races in Australia, Malaysia, China and Bahrain, which could at least give Ross and Nick some more time to find new patrons and sponsors.

[Source: F1-Live and GrandPrix.com]