It’s the end of the road for Honda in F1. In a shock announcement, the Japanese giant has confirmed it is withdrawing from grand prix racing with immediate effect.
In a statement, Honda’s President Takeo Fukai outlined the company’s reasons for making the radical cut. “This difficult decision has been made in light of the quickly deteriorating operating environment facing the global auto industry”, he said. “Honda must protect its core business activities and secure its long term future.”
The decision leaves Britain’s Jenson Button and his team mate Rubens Barrichello - together the 700 staff at the squad’s factory in Brackley, Northants - facing an uncertain future. However, there is a glimmer of hope, as team bosses Nick Fry and Ross Brawn have confirmed they are aiming to find a buyer for the outfit.
In an interview with the BBC, Fry remained upbeat. “We have only had a short amount of time, but in the last 12 hours we've had three serious people come to us suggesting they would like to buy the team, so we are still hoping to be in Melbourne, Australia for the opening round of the 2009 season.”