"Time is running out" for the team currently known as Honda to finalise a supply of engines for the 2009 season, but Mercedes-Benz is still willing to help the beleaguered outfit.

"Time is running out" for the team currently known as Honda to finalise a supply of engines for the 2009 season, but Mercedes-Benz is still willing to help the beleaguered outfit.

That was the message of Norbert Haug on Friday, following reports that Brackley based chiefs have asked the German manufacturer if it is willing to reach a deal if a team buyer is found ahead of the 2009 season.

"The timing is anything other than fantastic obviously but we still could do it," the McLaren partner's competition chief told reporters at the launch of the MP4-24 at Woking.

"There is not a deadline like tomorrow or next week but of course time is running out," Haug added.

The German said McLaren executive Martin Whitmarsh was the one actually approached by Honda, insisting he is not personally aware of how the team's talks with potential buyers are progressing.

Haug also insisted that any arrangement with Honda would have to make sense for Mercedes, despite his desire to assist for the sake of the sport.

"This is not a sponsorship deal, it is financial deal and we need to get the finances right and then we can help," he said.

Mercedes-Benz has already pledged to supply a second team, Force India, in 2009.

During a conference call for German reporters, Haug said supplying multiple teams is now possible because of the new rules further restricting engine usage.

 

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