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Honda gone, but who will be next, ask experts?

A number of Formula 1 teams are embroiled now in a fight for mere survival in the wake of Honda's shock withdrawal from the top flight at the end of last week – that is the view of experts, who have predicted that 'the first thrown snowball' could just 'trigger an avalanche'.

Following Honda's announcement on Friday, there have been murmurings within F1 that any one of the sport's nine other teams could also disappear from the grid before the start of the 2009 campaign, with Toyota, Red Bull Racing, Renault and Williams believed to be those most likely to pull the plug on their grand prix projects.

FIA President Max Mosley – for some time a devoted advocate of the drastic need to reduce expenditure, and fast – has suggested that Honda may not be the last team to bite the dust [see separate story – click here]. Others, it seems, tend to concur.

“A large portion of the teams face the question of survival,” recently-ousted Force India F1 team principal Colin Kolles told German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, with legendary former triple world champion Niki Lauda adding in an interview with Sport Bild that 'it is often the case that the first thrown snowball triggers an avalanche'.

“I can well imagine a chief executive like [Mercedes-Benz's] Dieter Zetsche thinking 'We have just become world champion, what more can we do?'” added ex-grand prix star and current VW motor racing representative Hans-Joachim Stuck.

Gerhard Berger, meanwhile, who re-sold his 50 per cent share in Scuderia Toro Rosso to parent company Red Bull last month, had few words of encouragement for Honda's hopes of selling.

“I know just how difficult it is nowadays to find sponsors,” the Austrian ten-time grand prix-winner mused. “Finding someone to buy a whole team? Forget it.”


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Si Drake

December 08, 2008 6:22 PM
Last Edited 312 days ago

I wouldn't be at all surprised if Ferrari withdraw from F1. I imagine they would use the premise of standardised engines as the main reason. Think about it, a Ferrari with a Cosworth engine? Ferrari would never allow that. I understand that costs need to be cut from F1 but the same engine for every team is a mistake. What'll be next, standardised chassis and gearbox? Cut testing, simplify the tyre compounds so they'd be no need for tyre warmers without compromising safety, engines and gearboxes to last 4 or 5 races (no jokers), reduce electronics and cut down on the amount of aero crap on the cars (i.e. the stupid ears on the nose etc). This would be the way forward.

peter - Unregistered

December 09, 2008 8:11 AM

I think there are several reasons Honda have pulled the plug. Firstly the "Credit Crunch" lack of sales worldwide and laying people of down the road in Swindon. Secondly and probably more important, they were not winning. The Japanese compete to win unlike the Brits who think that taking part is more important than winning, the Japanese winning is everything. Thirdly, Hondas biggest market place outside of their homeland is America, the powers that be have now removed both races in North Amrrica. Honda have pulled out of F1 twice before and will no doubt return one day. As for who goes next? Its more likely to be a manufacturers team, as buget controlled by other people



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