Honda is set to make the shock announcement on Friday morning that its Formula One team is to be placed up for sale.
According to the Reuters
news agency, team bosses Ross Brawn and Nick Fry told a meeting of the Formula One Teams' Association today [Thursday], that Honda had set itself a deadline of a month to find a buyer for the Brackley-based squad.
Should no buyer be found, Honda would become the second F1 outfit to fold during 2008 – following in the footsteps of former Honda 'B' team Super Aguri.
After a fine season in 2006, when Jenson Button won in Hungary and Honda took fourth in the constructors' championship, the team has gone into a sharp decline, managing just six points in 2007 and finishing ahead of only Force India in the points in 2008.
That came despite Honda spending more on its F1 programme than anyone else, according to a recent investigation by the Financial Times
- with the huge outlay not being rewarded with results on track.
With the current global economic situation, it remains to be seen who would have the financial backing to launch a serious bit to enter F1, especially with one of the worlds major car manufacturers seemingly set to reveal that it is no longer prepared to foot the bill.
Should the news be made official – with no comment having currently been made by Honda officials – then it would follow in the footsteps of the decision taken by Honda to cut production at its factory in Swindon, which will close for 50 days in early 2009.
More to follow as it develops...