Only a few days remain for the Brackley based formula one team to survive the shock withdrawal of the Japanese manufacturer Honda.

Only a few days remain for the Brackley based formula one team to survive the shock withdrawal of the Japanese manufacturer Honda.

Amid reports of potential buyers including Richard Branson's Virgin Group, or a Nick Fry and Ross Brawn-led management buyout, it has emerged that Monday 23 February is the deadline for final plans to be set in stone.

Team principal Brawn is quoted by the Swiss newspaper Blick as confirming that "Monday" is decision-day, and Britain's authoritative Guardian newspaper revealed the same deadline.

The Daily Mail said the deadline for the Honda Motor Co. board to approve a buyout deal is 28 February.

The Guardian, however, said 23 February is the deadline set by Mercedes-Benz, with the German manufacturer wanting its first payment for the customer supply of engines on that date.

With the first payment, the team must also be able to demonstrate to the German manufacturer that it can afford the entire 8m euro engine bill for the full season.

Meanwhile, the Brazilian oil company Petrobras, having intended to back Honda's 2009 campaign, clarified this week that it is not interested in signing with the "future team yet to be formed", nor is it helping to finance Bruno Senna's grand prix debut.

But the Guardian writer Alan Henry said he believes Embratel, another Brazilian company, is still "keen to offer support".

 

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