December 04, 2008

Honda to leave F1!: Autosport is saying Honda will announce on Friday that they plan to leave the sport. Other avenues are reporting the decision is already made and done and Honda are finished in Formula One.

This of course means Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello are without a drive. Rubens would probably retire, but what about Jenson? Not to mention Ross Brawn, who was expected to have a much bigger impact in 2009.

You have to agree with Honda's decision though if they do depart. Throwing away hundreds of millions on a team that's routinely at the rear of the field hardly makes sense in the current financial climate. It's also unlikely they will find a buyer for the team.

This will bring F1 down to a mere 18 cars!

posted by Drood to auto racing at 06:59 PM - 10 comments

Is F1 going down?

posted by NoMich at 07:03 PM on December 04, 2008

I don't think the sport will go down, but I'd be VERY surprised if this is the end of the casualties.

posted by Drood at 08:24 PM on December 04, 2008

Given the current state of the economy, I would think we'll see a lot of companies rethink sponsorships of all athletic/sporting venues.

Just too hard to justify the expense.

I'll wager that we see a few NASCAR sponsors pull out as well.

posted by dviking at 10:38 PM on December 04, 2008

Sad, but not surprising. Honda has a rich history in F1, but clearly struggled in the last decade. There is just no way to rationalize the expense given the results. Is Toyota next? They haven't been much more productive than Honda and spend more than any other team on the grid.

posted by eccsport78 at 01:24 AM on December 05, 2008

Given the current state of the economy, I would think we'll see a lot of companies rethink sponsorships of all athletic/sporting venues.

Except Citibank, of course.

posted by BoKnows at 02:46 AM on December 05, 2008

Just read on Autosport, it's official. Honda withdrawing from F1 with immediate effect.

dviking: Yep. If teams don't go, sponsors will. The dominoes are starting to topple.

eccsport: Two years ago I'd have said yes for Toyota, but they showed flashes of a decent car this year, so I think they are safe for now. Depends on how 2009 goes I would assume. Toyota have more money than God, and the company has never cared about throwing away half a billion a year on the team when it was crap. Now it's possibly coming good.

Of course if they go, Williams lose their engines...

This sucks. And not just for the obvious, but because now bloody Mosley can go "See, I told you".

posted by Drood at 05:22 AM on December 05, 2008

Honda have other reasons for exiting apart from spiralling costs - the plan to standardise engines (i.e. probably Cosworths) doesn't help them as a team, or as a future supplier for other teams.

posted by owlhouse at 11:23 PM on December 06, 2008

Oh undoubtedly. I think the collapse of car sales is a handy statistic to use, but this is more political than they're letting on.

posted by Drood at 01:17 AM on December 07, 2008

Everyone involved with F1 knows the costs need to be contained in order for the sport to survive. Honda was affected more than most because it was without a major sponsor the last couple of years. But the whole idea of using standardised engines and transmissions to cut those costs will ruin F1. True, it will save money, but at what expense? F1 is not NASCAR. F1 has always been the ultimate in terms of race engineering and technology, and it's the prime reason car manufacturers became involved to begin with. Automakers know going in that involvement in an F1 team will be a money pit, but the tradeoff has always been the ability to use the technology gained by putting it in their road cars and then marketing that fact. Nobody understood that more than Honda, a company whose founder was an engine maker who went racing early on to advance the knowledge of his company's engineers. Honda has always promoted the company's racing development in it's advertising. Telling the remaining manufacturers they will have to dumb-down their powertrains to match customer-team Cosworth specs will take away the R&D aspect that attracted those companies in the first place. I believe Honda never went NASCAR racing for that very reason. That, and given the team's dismal results of late, perhaps Honda just decided it didn't need to wait for 2010. I wonder when some of the others will come to the same conclusion.

posted by eccsport78 at 08:47 PM on December 09, 2008

the plan to standardise engines (i.e. probably Cosworths)

Really? I'll be stunned if it isn't Ferraris.

But it certainly becomes hard to justify the engineering arguments now traction control, active suspension, and so on, have all been banned, if you then go to standard engines. What are your boffins then going to take out of the F1 lab to put in their street cars when the F1 cars are more primitive than the average shopping trolly.

Or, what eccsport78 said.

(Manufacturers, on the other hand, are pointing the finger in part at how much of the ridiculous sums generated by F1 end up in Ecclestone and Mosely's pockets, rather than going to the teams that generate the revenue...)

posted by rodgerd at 09:53 PM on December 09, 2008

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