Honda has officially confirmed that it is to withdraw from all Formula One activities with immediate effect, with the Brackley-based Honda Racing F1 Team being placed up for sale.

With the global economic climate leading to falling car sales around the world, the Japanese manufacturer has confirmed that it is no longer prepared to meet the costs of running a Formula One team - with Honda reported to be the biggest spenders on the grid.

Honda president and CEO Takeo Fukai confirmed an immediate pull-out from F1 as the company seeks to protect its interests, admitting that a recovery from current market issues would 'take some time'.

"Honda must protect its core business activities and secure the long term as widespread uncertainties in the economies around the globe continue to mount," he said. "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 optimise the allocation of management resources, including investment regarding the future, we have decided to withdraw from Formula One participation.

"We will enter into consultation with the associates of Honda Racing F1 Team and its engine supplier Honda Racing Development regarding the future of the two companies. This will include offering the team for sale.

"This difficult decision has been made in light of the quickly deteriorating operating environment facing the global auto industry, brought on by the sub-prime problem in the United States, the deepening credit crisis and the sudden contraction of the world economies."

After returning to F1 in partnership with BAR, Honda confirmed that it was acquiring the team at the end of 2005 with Honda returning to the grid in its own right in 2006.

Joining the likes of Ferrari, Renault, Toyota and BMW as a fully-fledged manufacturer team, Honda finished fourth in the constructors' championship and took a first win in Hungary with Jenson Button - but then went into an alarming decline in 2007.

Indeed, the Brackley-based team picked up just six points all season to finish eighth in the standings while 2008 also proved to be tough - with 14 points on the board and ninth in the standings, putting Honda ahead of only Force India despite reports suggesting it was spending more than anyone else.

Having failed to build on that 2006 season, Fukai said the decision to pull out of Formula One has been 'extremely difficult' with the manufacturer having failed to give fans the success they craved.

"In its third era of Formula One activities, Honda has been participating in Formula One races from the 2000 season, initially with BAR, by adopting a new format of jointly developing racing machines," he said. "Subsequently, in a move to meet the changing environment surrounding Formula One, we switched to running a 100 per cent Honda-owned team commencing with the 2006 season.

"Surmounting many challenges, the Honda Team achieved a Grand Prix victory in 2006, enabling Honda to receive overwhelming support from Honda fans around the world that were looking forward to greater success. It, therefore, has been an extremely difficult decision for us to come to this conclusion without having been able to fully meet the expectations of our fans.

"By making the best of what we have learned during these times of economic turmoil, coupled with the spirit of challenge gained through active participation in racing, we intend to continue with our commitment in meeting new challenges.

"Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank our fans and all those who have supported Honda's Formula One efforts, including everyone in the world of Formula One."


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