Honda will become the sole owner of the BAR team next season.
The Japanese manufacturer said it will own 100% of the Formula One team by the end of the year, after shareholders and tobacco giant BAT agreed to sell their 55% stake in the UK-based outfit. Honda has been BAR's engine partner for six years and currently holds a 45% stake in the team.
The announcement comes ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix, where BAR-Honda driver Jenson Button will be aiming for a podium position.
He will be joined next year by Rubens Barrichello, who has terminated his contract with Ferrari.
The Eleventh Formula 1 Team for 2006
The unveiling of an eleventh Grand Prix team for next year could be less than one month away, Nick Fry, the team chief of its expected technical backer BAR Honda, said.
Honda made it known that they have been asked to supply engines to a mysterious new outfit earlier this week, when they confirmed they have bought a 100 percent shareholding in the BAR team. Fry said talks with the as yet unnamed outfit began more than two months ago.
"It is going to be very difficult to do next year but we will try to do it and see what happens," said Fry. "Honda would not have mentioned this unless it was relatively credible and you don't come out and say these things without a fair bit of activity having happened previously so I am sure the potential new team has done its homework. These are credible people with motor racing experience and the financial backing to do the job. We are not talking about an under-funded team here, and clearly they have convinced Honda, Bernie (Ecclestone) and us that this has got potential."
"I think there is a 65 percent chance, certainly better than evens, that it will happen because if it was not that we would not be saying anything. They have a high degree of capability, proven capability to put together a team."
Little is known about the second team that Honda could supply its V8 powerplants to next year and certainly in Japan this weekend it is a hot topic for debate.
Speaking in the build up to the Japanese Grand Prix weekend Takuma Sato let it be known that the team looking to enter the series next year has made him an offer to race with the team. It now seems that current BAR Honda test driver Anthony Davidson is also in the frame to line-up alongside Sato according to reports from SpeedTV.
Honda is in talks with the mysterious new team about engine supply and admit that the chassis may well be rather similar to the current 007 design raced this year by Sato and Jenson Button. Other than that, the rest is speculation but it seems we may have an 11th team on the grid in Formula One in 2006. And then again, we may not.
Honda of course has supplied more than one team with engines in the past, most recently with BAR and Jordan in 2002, but with Honda taking complete ownership of BAR ahead of the 2006 season, they face a very busy build up to the new season.
In the meantime, we await for the identity of this new team to be revealed.