APRIL 16, 2002
Jordan and Honda
WE have suggested in recent days that things are happening between Honda and British American Racing which could result in an exclusive engine supply to British American Racing (or whatever that team will be called by then) at the start of 2004. Honda sent its top motorsport bosses to Imola to look at the situation and there have been some not very reliable reports that Takeo Fukui is openly saying that Jordan's position needs to be rethought. The implication is that Honda will concentrate on BAR and Jordan will become a customer again with Mugen engines. These stories should be treated with care as there are a lot of disruptive rumors flying around at the moment, designed to cause difficulties for the teams involved. It is not clear who is spreading the stories and why but a lot of them are not true.
There is, however, a lot of logic in the Honda-BAR relationship and there is no doubt that David Richards is extremely well-connected in Japan. The most likely scenario is that Prodrive will agree to rebadge the team as a Honda operation and that BAT will remain as the sponsor (although it is possible that Richards will exercise his option to buy out BAT). This would create a similar structure to the successful 555 Subaru World Rally Championship team, which has been one of the most successful operations in the history of the WRC.