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Mugen Honda to join forces with DAMS?

ONE intriguing rumor doing the rounds at Silverstone suggested that the DAMS Formula 3000 team - which has ambitions to enter F1 next year - is in serious negotiation to sign an engine supply deal with Mugen Honda.

Mugen Honda's deal with Ligier - which has been very embarrassing for the Japanese because of the legal difficulties with Minardi and not very successful on the race tracks - is believed to include clauses which allow Mugen Honda to terminate the deal as and when it pleases. Honda is concentrating on Indycar racing at the moment and continues to play down its involvement in F1, possibly because it is contractually forbidden to race in F1 against former partners McLaren for a fixed period of time. The Honda philosophy has always been aimed at the company running its own complete team in F1 but this is not expected until 1998 or 1999 at the earliest. Honda, does however want to keep abreast of what is happening in F1 and is using Mugen to do that. A deal with a top team - Williams for example - is not therefore likely while DAMS would be a perfect choice as it will be low profile for a couple of years - in much the same way as Honda entered F1 with Spirit in the early 1980s.

DAMS has a long and successful history with Mugen in F3000 and clearly Driot has a good working relationship with the Japanese.

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