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Honda's new Formula 1 engine

THE Honda Motor Company is sneaking back into Formula 1 sooner than most people think - with an engine built by Honda's Research & Development department likely to begin testing in the autumn. This will remain badged as a Mugen Honda but will be a Honda unit looked after by Mugen engineers.

Honda is very keen that the new V10 begins testing as soon as possible and that has created a small problem as Jordan is under contract to Peugeot until December 31. Peugeot could release Jordan from the contract but at the moment there do not seem to be plans for an interim Prost-Peugeot car, the French team planning to have the new car up and running in January. Allowing Jordan and Honda to test would therefore give the new combination an advantage.

Prost might, however, like to test for Bridgestone but cannot do so because his contract with Mugen Honda ends at the end of the season and there is no reason why Honda will agree to give him engines in December - after the month-long ban on all F1 testing is over. There is, of course, plenty of room for negotiation and we expect to see both Prost and Jordan using Mugen Honda engines in the final weeks of the year.

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