Honda withdraws from Formula One

The effects of the global economic downturn have spread to the most expensive sport in the world as Honda announces it will its Formula One team unless a buyer can be found by the end of the month.

The decision means the 600 staff at the team's headquarters in Brackley, Northamptonshire, face redundancy. It will also put British driver Jenson Button out of a job after nine years in F1.

Takeo Fukui, the chief executive of Honda Motors, announced at a news conference in Tokyo that the company would be willing to sell the team.

However, if a buyer cannot be found they will withdraw from the 2009 competition, ending the Japanese engineering giant's nine-year involvement in the sport.

Mr Fukui said: "We, Honda Motor Co Ltd, have come to the conclusion that we will withdraw from all Formula One activities, making 2008 the last season of participation.

"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.

"Honda must protect its core business activities and secure the long term as widespread uncertainties in the economies around the globe continue to mount. A recovery is expected to take some time."

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