Japanese automaker Honda Motors Co. has decided to pull out of Formula One Racing for 2009 as part of an effort to focus on its core business in the face of the global economic crisis. Honda CEO Takeo Fukui said that the company is unable to continue supporting an F1 team due to the economic crisis.
Honda is open to selling the F1 team. “The automobile industry is experiencing very difficult times,” Fukui said. “Demand started to dry up in November and we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.” Honda’s withdrawal from F1 sent shock waves throughout the racing world. The 2009 season of Formula One could start with only 18 cars on the grid. The pull out is just another sign of the difficulties facing automakers around the world, especially the big three: General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, who are seeking a $34 billion bailout to stay afloat.
Honda is also having a bumpy ride. Last Thursday, the automaker announced it was cutting jobs in Britain and Japan because of declining vehicle demand. To date, Honda has already reduced its annual production of consumer cars by more than 140,000 worldwide.