With the Global Economic crisis, yesterday Honda F1 withdrew. The bombshell news demonstrating that the the world of Motorsport and Formula 1 in particular isn't immune to the financial struggles the global economy is showing.
Privateer teams will first come to mind to be less financially stable, but three of the four non manufacturer backed privateer teams are owned by billionaires, leaving Williams the odd one out. However the Honda announcement shows that the big manufacturer based teams isn’t stable either, so which team if any will leave Formula 1 next?
The FIA's standard engine proposal may leave teams considering leaving the sport, but will this actually help Formula 1 as a sport?
We may need to take one step back to take two steps forward to last in these tough times.
Ferrari seem to be the heart of Formula 1, well in my mind at least. Defiantly Ferrari will survive. The team should be able to last as long as Formula 1 can last. Ferrari have also threatened to pull out if the standard engine proposal becomes reality.
Likewise to Ferrari, McLarern have invested lots to Formula 1 over time, and is now reeking in the rewards once more. However with the global economic struggles, one of the main sponsors, Spanish banking group Santander may have a slight chance of pulling out, though this may be just a slight chance.
BMW likewise to Ferrari and Mclarern should be safe. However like Mclarern they are backed by a major bank. Credit Suisse required a rescue plan from the Suisse Government.
The situation at Renault may not be as good as the big three. Success in 2005 and 2006 and Fernando Alonso however may be the backbone and motivation for Renault to continue into the future.
After seven years in Formula 1, and endless millions of dollars used, US$445.6 million to be precise, Toyota only have five podiums and two poles towards their name. Shortly after the Honda announcement, Toyota swiftly released a statement.
"Honda's decision is a pity for us as a Japanese team. However, we cannot comment more about their situation because this is an issue for Honda.
Toyota is currently committed to succeeding in Formula One, and to reducing our costs.
We are contributing to the FOTA (Formula One Teams' Association) activities which will achieve significant cost reductions, whilst maintaining the spirit of the sport."
"We hope FOTA's proposals and activities will be given the widespread support they deserve as they provide the sound, stable base Formula One requires at this time," Toyota declared.
This statement clearly shows that Toyota are in for the long road ahead, or in the short term future at least.
Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso
Owned by Austrian Energy drink tycoon Dietrich Mateschitz, Red Bull Racing seems to be in safe hands, particularly after the announcement to buy back sister team Toro Rosso from Gehard Berger. This only shows that both Red Bull backed squads are safe for the time being and there is little chance of either team being sold.
Possibly the team most in doubt in my mind is Williams. The legendary team with a history of thirty one years may be the next team to drop out. Main Sponsor, Royal Bank of Scotland required a bank rescue package from the British Government. Unless results come, and enough sponsorship is found in the event of RBS pulling out of Williams as a sponsor, the team may be next on the verge of Formula 1 oblivion.
Owned by Indian businessman and billionaire Dr. Vijay Mallya and Michiel Mol, Force India seem to be safe for the time being. After three name changes in just about three years, the team seems to be steady for the time being.
After the announcement of withdrawal, Honda F1 CEO Nick Fry announced that there were three main potential buyers of Honda F1. Not much more was said, but potential teams in my mind could be:
· Prodrive, the team was initially supposed to be entered in this year’s championship.
· Minardi, rumour has it Paul Stoddart wants to return the Minardi name to the F1 grid.
· After pulling out of Le Mans, could Audi want to enter the world of Formula 1?
These are the current situations with the teams; certainly much of us can agree that we don't want to see any teams leave Formula 1 anytime soon. Only time will tell what happens.
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