A very shocking report is coming out of Japan this morning – Honda has announced it is pulling the plug on its Formula One racing division. Honda’s CEO Takeo Fukui said that due to the slowdown in the global economy, Honda must focus on its core business and is unable to continue backing the F1 team. He said that Honda is open to selling the 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.”
The withdrawal is expected to send shock waves through F1. Forget the F1, this is the first major move by a Japanese automaker showing the difficulties face by automakers around the world. Of course the Big 3’s ongoing struggle to get government funding is the biggest sign of the falling auto industry.
Audi has also announced that it will not participate in the 2009 American Le Mans Series and will instead focus on Europe’s DTM series, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and customer sport programs.