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Honda confident of racing in 2009

Bruno Senna, Honda, Barcelona testing November 2008Honda Racing bosses are close to giving the green light for the team to start the 2009 season, but they still need to provide guarantees to proposed engine supplier Mercedes-Benz that they have enough funds.

Amid widespread media speculation in the last 48 hours about the future of the Brackley-based outfit, sources close to the team have revealed that team chiefs are now confident enough about their situation to formally begin preparations for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

However, one of the key hurdles remaining is for Honda Racing bosses to prove to Mercedes-Benz that they have the money to pay for a full season of engine fees - rumoured to be in excess of 7.15 million.

McLaren's incoming team principal Martin Whitmarsh, who has been handling the negotiations on behalf of Mercedes-Benz, told The Guardian: "We have offered as much help and assistance as we can in the interests of the sport as a whole and the solidarity of the Formula One Teams Association to help the Honda team stay in business."

It is understood team principal Ross Brawn informed the staff via email earlier this week that the team's future looks good and that plans for the start of the season could continue being pushed forward.

Honda personnel have been moving on with developing their 2009 car, despite the uncertainty over their future ever since their Japanese bosses announced an immediate withdrawal from F1 at the end of last year.

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