Renault and Red Bull have both spoken out to insist that they are not about to pull the plug on their Formula 1 projects, as paddock whispers suggest they are two of the teams that could be set to follow Honda out of the exit door.

Numerous figures within the grand prix paddock - FIA President Max Mosley chief amongst them - have claimed that Honda may not be the last team to disappear from the starting grid before the opening race of the 2009 season Down Under in Melbourne in March.

Having reportedly lost a staggering 82 per cent of its share price in the recent global economic crisis - more than any other F1-involved manufacturer - Renault is seen to be at risk, and F1SA states that Flavio Briatore was this week summoned to an emergency meeting with the French car maker's chief executive Carlos Ghosn, a man who has frequently questioned the validity of the R?gie's participation in the top flight since his appointment.

Whilst admitting that he had been 'surprised' to see Honda leave just as F1 is entering a drastic cost-cutting phase, double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso is adamant that Renault is not set to follow suit.

"It is a shame and a big surprise for me and most of the people in the paddock," the 27-year-old told Spanish newspaper AS, "because Honda has been around for a long time and was one of the biggest teams.

"I can imagine it was not an easy decision for them to take and I hope that no one else does the same.

"Renault has always had a sensible approach to Formula 1. It is not a team that squanders money. I believe we are in a good position to fight for the next championship."

The 21-time grand prix-winner also sought to quash claims that he came close to agreeing terms with the Japanese concern for 2009 - a situation that would have left him without a drive just months away from the new campaign.

"The truth is I am content to be with Renault, but not because Honda has gone away," Alonso insisted, speaking to Marca. "I must say that [going to Honda] was never too serious an option."

Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner has similarly re-affirmed the energy drinks backed-outfit's full commitment to the top flight, after the company's owner Dietrich Mateschitz had intriguingly hinted that 'numerous other race teams are having similar thoughts' to Honda [see separate story - click here].

It has been suggested that the return of 'junior' squad Scuderia Toro Rosso back to the parent concern by STR co-owner Gerhard Berger was the first step in a move to facilitate a sale of the two sister teams as one single package.

"The funding of Toro Rosso has always been fully provided by Red Bull," Horner stressed in an interview with the official Formula 1 website, "so therefore the 100 per cent take-over has no foreseen impact on Red Bull Racing.

"Thankfully a can of Red Bull doesn't cost the same as a car, so people are still buying and enjoying the product during these times!"

Ferrari star Felipe Massa, meanwhile, has argued that Honda will not be followed out of the sport by any other team - and expressed his support for compatriot Rubens Barrichello, who has now almost certainly seen the curtain descend on his record-length grand prix career.

"I don't think so, at least not next season," the Brazilian told Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport when asked if he believed others were also in danger. "The economic crisis is very serious and it affects us all, but the situation can only improve.

"In any case, I hope someone can buy Honda, maybe even a Brazilian firm. It would be very interesting to see a Brazilian team with Brazilian drivers in F1. If the situation stays like this there will be only Nelson Piquet and me as Brazilians in F1. It's really sad.

"Honda's pull-out was a nasty surprise and a really horrible thing for F1. It's better to have lots of competition, but now it's important to continue, working together and finding the right solutions. Formula 1 has to remain a team competition, but still considering reality."

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