Ross Brawn and Nick Fry's hopes of finding a buyer for the Honda Racing team have been boosted by their Japanese bosses saying they will accept a 'small price tag' for the outfit.
Brawn and Fry have just a few weeks to try and make progress in finding a buyer for the team in the wake of Honda's decision to withdraw from Formula One with immediate effect. There are already three prospective buyers said to have come forward and expressed an interest in getting involved.
And although Honda Racing's Brackley facility is state-of-the-art and among the best in F1, Honda's chiefs have said they are not chasing an unrealistic price because their priority is keeping the team alive.
When asked about the reports that Honda may be willing to sell the outfit for a nominal fee, perhaps as little as £1, the company's CEO and chairman Takeo Fukui said: "Just to make the team possible to exist, a small price tag is acceptable."
Fukui made it clear that the motivation for Honda's pullout from F1 had nothing to do with the team's performance on track - but was simply a result of the economic downturn. And, in particular, the alarmingly poor Honda car sales for November.
"We are sorry, it is a big let down for the fans and all concerned, but you have to understand that the sale of cars took a big dip - especially in November," explained Fukui.
"All around the world, the November sales went down massively - beyond our imagination. This decision did not exist in September definitely. The team were ready for 2009 and they were doing their best efforts, and we decided against them.
"We did not only disappoint the fans but also the staff, and we are really sorry for the technical staff, including Ross."
Fukui did not rule out Honda returning to F1 in the future if economic conditions improved.
"For the future we can think whatever," said Fukui. "But for now we are pulling out."
He added: "Honda 's idea of sport has not changed. The pull out is not only for economic reasons but because we believe we are about to embark on a new era , which we think as a big change. The energy we poured into F1 we can now pour into this new phase of the auto industry.
"It is all because of expensive fuel. We need different (road) car design - we need to strengthen the eco hybrid technology. We need to have more energy for the development of eco cars, and for that we can use the personnel who had had the experience of F1."
It was also confirmed that Honda's MotoGP and IndyCar programme would not be impacted.
"MotoGP we will continue and in the Indy series we plan to continue," he said. "Regarding other categories, we start thinking now as to what we should do."
Fukui also said that next year's Japanese Grand Prix at the Honda-owned Suzuka would go ahead.
"The Suzuka GP takes place as planned, and the work has started. We are sorry we are not going to be there."