OCTOBER 31, 2005

Honda announcing new team tomorrow

There will be a press conference at Honda headquarters in Tokyo tomorrow announcing that Aguri Suzuki will enter a Honda second team in next year's Formula 1 World Championship. It is expected that this will confirm the involvement of the Softbank company and that Honda has acquired Menard Engineering Ltd, which owns the old Arrows F1 facility at Leafield.

Robby Gordon, the NASCAR owner-driver, has confirmed to the Winston Salem Journal that Menard, which provides him with his NASCAR engines, is in negotiation with Honda.

Menard Engineering Ltd is in effect, a slimmed-down version of the old TWR company, which was acquired by home-improvements billionaire John Menard in 2003 when Menard and Eddie Cheever, a former TWR driver and longtime associate of former TWR boss Tom Walkinshaw, decided to use the business to improve their efforts in the Indy Racing League.

That relationship did not last long and Menard has since tried to make the company profitable and in August last year announced that it was expanding into military and aerospace activities in alliance with Haverstick Consulting. Menard previously had an automotive design office in Worthing (which was also part of the old TWR empire) but this was closed down in 2004 and staff relocated to Leafield. It remains to be seen what Honda will do with the automotive consultancy side of the business.

Gordon says that any deal with Honda will not be affecting his NASCAR engine supply.