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Honda: Williams Deal Unlikely

Williams' engine options for next year in the event that BMW part company with the team appear to be narrowing with Honda claiming on Wednesday it may already be too late for them to ink a deal for next year

The Japanese engine manufacturer have been approached by Williams about a customer deal for next year, but vice-president of Honda Racing Development Otmar Szafnauer believes that the company may already have passed the deadline for gearing up to supply a second team in 2006.

"We have had the question: 'If we need an engine would you be willing to have a discussion' and we said 'yes', but we have had that question from other teams, not just Williams," Szafnauer told Motorsport News.

"We don't know what other people's design timetables are but I would imagine that if they are not far from what ours are, we are too late for next year."

If Honda cannot supply engines to Williams then their only remaining options are Toyota and Cosworth in the event of them needing a replacement for BMW.

Autosport-Atlas understands that Frank Williams approached Toyota prior to the Canadian Grand Prix to enquire about a deal, although he will have to move fast because Jordan are pushing hard to continue their customer deal with the Japanese manufacturer for next year.

The problem Williams will face with either a Honda or Toyota deal, however, is that they are unlikely to be able to consistently outpace the works team - effectively ruling them out of a serious World Championship challenge.

Szafnauer confirmed that if Honda were able to supply two teams then they would definitely want their works team BAR to be the number one outfit.

"If we were to supply two teams our goal would be have Honda one-two-three-four and preferably with BAR one-two, with the other team three and four," he said.

These factors could leave Williams left with no option but to try and tie a deal with Cosworth - who have made it clear that they are fully committed to a V8 engine for next season and are searching for a partner.

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