Honda buy out BAR to fuel championship challenge for 2006

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The move, which will become effective by 31 December, further underlines the manufacturer's world championship aspirations after recently persuading Jenson Button to spend an estimated $35m (£20m) buying himself out of his 2006 contract with Williams. It is also yet another signal of the fading influence of tobacco as worldwide advertising laws become ever tighter.

The news was announced in Tokyo yesterday in the build-up to this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix at the Honda-owned Suzuka International Circuit. It is expected that the company will seek to change the team name to Honda.

Jimmi Rembiszewski, the director of marketing for British American Tobacco who formed BAR in 1999 from the embers of Ken Tyrrell's eponymous team, said: "It will be sad to end our association but it is immensely satisfying to leave the team in the competent hands of Honda."

Honda also indicated that they will supply engines to an as yet unidentified second team. This is likely to be a new entry, possibly the Japanese Dome company, so that BAR reject Takuma Sato will retain a Formula One drive.