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More news about Honda

THE Honda Motor Company continues to put out confusing smokescreens about its Formula 1 plans, with contradictory rumors circulating in the Magny-Cours paddock last weekend. One rumor insisted that Honda will not enter until 2000 and that it will build a car in the old Tyrrell factory which will be acquired for the purpose from the Tyrrell Family. While the factory is not big enough for a major F1 program the family does have planning permission to expand the facility on its existing site. This would involve demolishing the current buildings and creating new ones, which would take a lot of time.

Another source tells us that Honda already has a factory set up and a design team operating somewhere in southern England, although not in Honda Swindon, nor in any of the other rumored facilities. The car - which had undergone windtunnel testing and suspension development work at Dallara - will be ready to run fairly soon and will race next year with some of the backing coming from Mild Seven and drivers Toranosuke Takagi and Alessandro Zanardi. It is expected that the team will be led by Satoru Nakajima although Japanese sources say that Honda President Nobuhiko Kawamoto will be involved in a managerial capacity. Kawamoto ceased to be Honda's chief executive last Friday but may be continuing with the company as the boss of its racing team.

There is however opposition within Honda to some of the plans, notably from Hirotoshi Honda, who owns 40% of Honda and is also the boss of Mugen. He had hoped that a Honda F1 team would include his company. The recent lack of engine development at Mugen suggests that Honda engineers are now busy working to develop their own V10 rather than using the existing units.

From America we hear that Target Chip Ganassi Racing has not yet given up hope of holding on to Zanardi, who is very highly respected by Target management and who plays an important role in the company's television advertising campaigns at the moment.

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