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Mercedes open to Honda engine supply

Norbert HaugMercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug has said the marque could supply the former Honda team with engines in 2009, provided any takeover leaves the team on a sound financial footing.

Although Mercedes has already committed to supplying a customer team for the first time, with Force India using its engines in 2009, Haug said that it could be possible to offer a deal to Honda.

"If there is a feasible solution with an investor for that team, we would be prepared to discuss it," Haug told autosport.com. "But the financial background needs to be there.

"You cannot give any presents at this time and in this (financial) climate, but we would like to help for the sake of Formula One. Ross Brawn and Nick Fry and their guys have done a good job so far, so if we could be in a position to help we certainly could try to do so.

"But the financial feasibility is very important. It needs to be 100 per cent bulletproof."

Haug says that a potential extra customer engine deal would not impinge on Mercedes's current operations, despite the challenges of adapting its power plant to last for three races and the introduction of Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS).

"This is not ideal timing," said Haug. "We have lots to do with KERS and the new rev limit and so on, which is a really big task.

"You have to do longer runs with the engines to prove they are ready. The guys in Brixworth are working flat out like never before. Even when we changed to V8 there was not as much to do as there is now."

Ferrari this week ruled themselves out as a potential engine supplier for the team despite former Scuderia technical director Ross Brawn, now Honda team principal, having reportedly spoken with the team about a deal.

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