When economists and historians look back at 2008 only one thing will come to mind 'Credit Crunch'. This economic downturn is unique to all before as it has affected nearly all spectrum's of society, even sports.
During the Great Depression of the 1930's Football in Britain blossomed, the F.A cup final of 1930 had record attendances’ nearly reaching anywhere between 200,000-300,000. This was because traditionally sport was a means of escape when life was bad you went to watch football, your means of escapism.
But now the world has changed, Division one games tickets then cost virtually nothing and now a Premiership game tickets cost's what ? a minimum of £30 ? and now owners like West Ham are trying desperately to get rid of team's due to lack of funds
The same is similar of Formula One, for many years the F1 circus went on isolated from the economic problems during the seventies and early nineties, admittedly they weren't as bad as it is now but between 1992 and now Formula one has changed many ways but economically it has fundamentally changed in one way. The Corporations.
As Formula took its place as the pinnacle of technology it meant increase investment to match. This it meant that Formula One's independent privateer teams looked for further investment and some were eventually bought by........the car companies.
The car companies had money, they had done well in the late 1990's with more people buying new cars and it seemed obvious for them to buy into a sport which has always been linked with car sales and they were already supplying engines too. so they came in ruined the balance of power between the teams, Bernie and the FIA and in the case of Ford they ruined a potentially good team in Stewart racing, then left again.
Compare 2008 to 1998, at the start of both seasons they had 11 teams entered, in 1998 they was the two quasi-corporate teams in Ferrari and McLaren although independent they are backed by corporate funding. then there was nine privateer teams some running customer engines, they included the Prost team, Jordan and the legendary Tyrell team.
In 2008 we had again the same two halfway teams, four independents, four corporate teams and Super Aguri, who knows what the deal was with them ??
Privateers race because they love to race. Car companies like Honda race to sell cars. That is problem and now they aren’t selling cars they can’t afford to race, no matter what budget teams like McLaren, Ferrari and Williams will always try and find a way to race because it's what they do.
It is what Formula One has missed and i hope what with the current economic climate it forces the car companies out and with Max Mosley's crusade to eliminate cost's will encourage the sport loving privateers back to it.