The Honda Racing F1 team has confirmed by means of Nick Fry and Ross Brawn that the team is for sale immediately. Honda will therefore not compete in the upcoming Formula One season as it has found the benefits not to outweight the costs in the current economical situation.
Honda CEO Takeo Fukui issued the following statement:
"We, Honda Motor Co., Ltd., have come to the conclusion that we will withdraw from all Formula One activities, making 2008 the last season of participation.
This difficult decision has been made in light of the quickly deteriorating operating environment facing the global auto industry, brought on by the sub-prime problem in the United States, the deepening credit crisis and the sudden contraction of the world economies.
Honda must protect its core business activities and secure the long term as widespread uncertainties in the economies around the globe continue to mount. A recovery is expected to take some time.
Under these circumstances, Honda has taken swift and flexible measures to counter this sudden and expansive weakening of the marketplace in all business areas. However, in recognition of the need to optimize the allocation of management resources, including investment regarding the future, we have decided to withdraw from Formula One participation. We will enter into consultation with the associates of Honda Racing F1 Team and its engine supplier Honda Racing Development regarding the future of the two companies. This will include offering the team for sale.
In its third era of Formula One activities, Honda has been participating in Formula One races from the 2000 season, initially with BAR, by adopting a new format of jointly developing racing machines.
Subsequently, in a move to meet the changing environment surrounding Formula One, we switched to running a 100 percent Honda-owned team commencing with the 2006 season.
Surmounting many challenges, the Honda Team achieved a Grand Prix victory in 2006, enabling Honda to receive overwhelming support from Honda fans around the world that were looking forward to greater success. It, therefore, has been an extremely difficult decision for us to come to this conclusion without having been able to fully meet the expectations of our fans.
By making the best of what we have learned during these times of economic turmoil, coupled with the spirit of challenge gained through active participation in racing, we intend to continue with our commitment in meeting new challenges.
Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank our fans and all those who have supported Honda’s Formula One efforts, including everyone in the world of Formula One."
Quickly after, the FIA responded to the withdrawal with the call to cut costs quickly and seriously.
"The announcement of Honda’s intended withdrawal from Formula One has confirmed the FIA’s longstanding concern that the cost of competing in the World Championship is unsustainable. In the FIA’s view, the global economic downturn has only exacerbated an already critical situation."
As the guardians of the sport, the FIA is committed to working with the commercial rights holder and the remaining members of FOTA to ensure that Formula One becomes financially sustainable.