Honda to withdraw from F1

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    Ross
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    Honda to withdraw from F1

    Post by Ross on 4th December 2008, 14:29

    It is rumoured that Honda will tomorrow morning announce their complete withdrawal from Formula One at the end of the year.

    ITV's James Allen reported:

    Honda will announce tomorrow morning that it is withdrawing from Formula 1.


    It is putting its team up for sale and will continue to fund the team for three months, but if no buyer is found by March then the team will be closed down.


    The team was addressed by team principal Ross Brawn this evening and he explained the situation to the workforce.


    As today was a FOTA meeting in Geneva it is likely that the news was broken there and has leaked out from other teams initially.


    Honda has its car factories in Japan working part-time shifts, owing to the collapse in the automobile sales market and clearly the management feel that they can no longer justify spending up to £200 million a year on F1, even if cost-cutting measures are in the pipeline.


    Too much time has been wasted in agreeing a package of measures as the FIA and Williams management have been warning for months.

    The news is a major shock, because Honda is one of the most profitable of the car makers currently engaged in F1.


    If they can make this decision, so can the others.


    This is a major moment for the sport and I imagine Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley will be ringing around frantically this evening ensuring that the remaining teams are solid.


    Toyota are the ones most are nervous about. They may use the withdrawal of their major rival as an excuse to get out, should they feel the conditions demand it.


    Mosely is likely to use this difficult situation to reiterate that radical cost-cutting measures need to be taken with immediate effect.


    He is entitled to say, "I told you so" and although he'll take no pleasure from it, he will have been proved right.


    Honda has a track record of sudden withdrawals, pulling out of Williams in 1987 to switch to McLaren and then withdrawing from F1 altogether in 1992.


    Honda took full ownership of the BAR team in 2005 and the highlight of its brief career was Jenson Button's win at the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2006.


    The Financial Times newspaper recently wrote that the team was the highest spending of the F1 outfits and had got through £147 million in 2007, about £40 million more than McLaren.


    They added 100 new staff - taking the total to 667 - and were investing heavily in the Ross Brawn plan for the future.


    The news will be a savage blow to Button, who renewed his contract with the team shortly before the Japanese Grand Prix.


    With all the top seats filled and on the back of an indifferent season, Button will be feeling nervous about his prospects for 2009.


    It is only hearsay at this stage but I understand that it will be confirmed in the next few hours, when Tokyo opens for business.


    I understand that the package being put up for sale does not involve the potential new owner running Honda engines but instead involves Ferrari engines, a deal which one imagines Ross Brawn would have put together.

    ITV.com/f1


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    Leks

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    Re: Honda to withdraw from F1

    Post by Leks on 5th December 2008, 02:25

    OMFG REALLY?
    Oh wait I sent you that Very Happy

    Really took me by surprise, looks like the top teams will be running 3 cars or another team will be drafted in.
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    Metar

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    Re: Honda to withdraw from F1

    Post by Metar on 5th December 2008, 04:02

    I'll copy-paste my long GTP post, for that matter..

    I fear, gentlemen, that this is the end. Max Mosley sent a letter to the teams this morning, outlining a spec-engine by Cosworth, with transmissions by Ricardo and Xtrac (who already supply half the grid):


    Further to my letter of 18 November, we have completed the tendering process and are now in exclusive negotiations with Cosworth together with Xtrac and Ricardo Transmissions (XR) to supply a complete Formula One power train starting in 2010. The engine will be a current Formula One engine while the transmission will be state-of-the-art Formula One and a joint effort by two companies which already supply transmissions to most of the grid.

    The cost to each team taking up this option will be an up-front payment of £1.68m (1.97m euros) and then £5.49m (6.42m euros) per season for each of the three years of the supply contract (2010, 2011, 2012). This price is based on four teams signing up and includes full technical support at all
    races and official tests, plus 30,000 km of testing. The annual cost will reduce if more teams take up the option, for example to £4.99m (5.84m euros) per team with eight teams. It will further reduce if less than 30,000 km of testing is required. Neither engine nor transmission will be badged.

    As suggested in my letter of 18 November, teams participating in the 2010 Championship would then have three options:

    1) The above

    2) The right to build an engine themselves, identical to the above, having been supplied with all the necessary technical information

    3) The right to continue to use their existing engine, with the current ban on development and requirement for engine parity still in place (noting that the engine supplied will become the reference engine for output and other performance indicators and no engine will be permitted to exceed those indicators)

    Teams opting for one of the latter two options would nevertheless use the XR transmission.

    In combination with the programme of cost reductions for the chassis, race weekend and team home base outlined in my letter of 18 November, these arrangements have a number of advantages. These include:

    1) Enabling the independent teams to survive in the current difficult economic climate

    2) Facilitating the replacement of a manufacturer team if (as seems likely) we suffer additional losses

    3) Stabilising Formula One while new road-relevant technologies are introduced together with a state-of-the-art high tech engine, which could be in Formula One as early as 2013 should the car industry by then be in a position to fund its development

    4) Avoiding any change to the Formula One spectacle and keeping the technology at current levels

    These arrangements are on the basis that at least four teams enter into contracts to use the power train described above, and do so no later than close of business (5pm CET) on Thursday 11 December 2008. In the event of fewer than four teams signing up, the FIA may still proceed but the price on offer will vary. The supply contracts will be with Cosworth but in the first instance teams are requested to make their intentions known to my office.

    Yours sincerely

    Max Mosley

    This is very much an end to F1 as we know it. With Honda pulling out, Toyota might follow up (or at least cut their gigabillion dollar spendings), while Renault's ever-watchful Ghosn might pull them out, as well. On the other hand, Honda were never, historically, a committed team: Their '60s project was dropped early, and they pulled out of engine-making in '92 because their engines weren't the best anymore. They drove themselves into the ground with their EarthDream campaign, and had to support the full expenses almost on their own. I want them to stay, if only for Rubens and Button, but they dug their own pit there.

    Every problem has it's roots: In this case, the root of all evil is McLaren-Mercedes. Note the Mercedes bit, because that's the important one. Up until 1994, most of the teams' budgets were FOM money, and some minor sponsoring, and success was largely dependent on a solid, reliable design and a talented team - and some money from last year's success. When Mercedes ditched Sauber for McLaren, though, things changed. The manufacturer started pouring unimaginable (at the time) amounts of money into the team and the engine, and the other manufacturers started matching them: Soon, Renault and Ferrari upped their budgets, allowing the latter to set up it's "dream team" that would dominate F1 for several years. Things became dirty when Honda, for no good reason, ditched the superbly-managed and highly talented Jordan crew, and started supplying backmarkers BAR with their works engine. Jordan quickly fell behind, out-spent massively by the manufacturer teams. The end of the garagistas started in the '90s, but the end of the independent teams started in 2000.
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    Mike
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    Re: Honda to withdraw from F1

    Post by Mike on 5th December 2008, 06:39

    Well, we knew change was coming, we just didn't expect this. When superpowers fight each other no one wins. Sometimes a superpower will lose. In this case its Honda and many more could follow. No one could match the spending power and backing for Ferrari.

    Last year £147m was spent by the team in Brackley to run a car at the back of the field, thats £40m more than Mclaren spent for a driver to win the championship.

    This is the beginning of a new era gents, I wonder how it will pan out.


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    Leks

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    Re: Honda to withdraw from F1

    Post by Leks on 5th December 2008, 08:53

    pretty badly so far Laughing
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    Ross
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    Re: Honda to withdraw from F1

    Post by Ross on 5th December 2008, 09:47

    This standardised engine crap is pathetic, if it happens I will no longer watch F1. But I'll make a new thread


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