Honda expected to announce F1 withdrawal

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    Honda expected to announce F1 withdrawal

    Post by Ross on 4th December 2008, 14:54

    Honda is expected to make the bombshell announcement on Friday morning that it is pulling out of Formula 1.

    Sources close to understand that the Brackley-based squad will be put up for sale with immediate effect and that if no buyer is found by March then the team will be closed.

    While no official announcement on the future of Honda’s F1 programme has been made by the Japanese manufacturer squad and the team’s press officers were not answering phone calls, it is understood the team’s workforce was addressed by team principal Ross Brawn on Thursday evening to explain the situation.

    Confirmation of the shock decision is expected to be made by Honda at the start of Friday morning in Japan.

    The car giant’s expected F1 exit will throw the immediate futures of British driver Jenson Button and former Ferrari mastermind Brawn into doubt should Honda fail to find a buyer in time.

    While Button had not been officially confirmed as staying for 2008, it is understood the 28-year-old had secured a new deal and the team was holding off from an announcement until it had decided on Button’s team-mate for next year.

    Current incumbent Rubens Barrichello had been waiting to find out whether or not the team would opt for either Bruno Senna or Lucas di Grassi over him following recent test evaluations.

    Honda’s expected withdrawal appears to confirm the manufacturer squad is the first Formula 1 victim of the global financial downturn.

    The Japanese firm recently cut its road vehicle production in wake of the crisis and speculation in recent days suggested it was now turning its cost-cutting attention to its F1 project.

    While it is expected Honda will put the team up for sale for three months, the current worldwide financial problems may make it difficult for it to find a new owner.

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