Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Honda pullout spells trouble

Honda on Friday announced its shock withdrawal from Formula One raising fresh fears over the future of the multi-million dollar sport struggling to keep afloat in the current economic downturn. Honda Motor president Takeo Fukui made the announcement at an emotional press conference in Tokyo, apologising to fans, staff, drivers and F1 authorities. The decision shocked the sport which had already seen back-markers, and fellow Japanese team, Super Aguri go the wall earlier this year. It also sparked new calls for the glamour sport to slash its mind-boggling budgets while the remaining Japanese team, Toyota, hurried out a statement pledging their future to the championship. Drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello were out of contract at the end of the season, but Honda, whose annual F1 budget was believed to be in the region of $400 million, had been expected to retain them both for 2009. However, Friday’s announcement means they are without a team which could spell the end of the road for Barrichello, the most experienced driver in Formula One history having raced in 271 Grand Prix, winning nine.
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