The shocking news from Japan this morning is that Honda have announced that they are pulling out of Formula 1 immediately, due to the rapid deterioration of their core car selling business off the back of the current global economic climate.
The team will be put up for sale from right now, and it is believed that if a buyer is not found by March 2009 then the team will be shut down before the start of the next season.
This could leave Brit Jenson Button without a drive next year, and could also see the 700 strong Brackley based outfit without jobs.
In a statement this morning, Honda president Takeo Fukui said: “We, Honda Motor Co., Ltd., have come to the conclusion that we will withdraw from all Formula 1 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.
“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 1 participation.
“This will include offering the team for sale.
“Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank our fans and all those who have supported Honda’s Formula 1 efforts, including everyone in the world of Formula 1.”
It makes you wonder how many other car manufacturers will leave F1?
And this seems a bit crass straight off the bat, but what’s Jenson going to do next season – go to STR, or get a job on the BBC commentary team?