Honda, facing economic drag as the financial crisis sharply curtails demand for automobiles, is withdrawing from Formula 1 racing, at least until global markets turn the corner, the Guardian reports. Honda's CEO once pledged to spend “a trillion yen” to secure an F1 title, but shareholders have pressured the company to cut costs, and the nonessential $500 million going toward the racing team yearly was an easy target.
"This difficult decision has been made in light of the quickly deteriorating environment facing the global auto industry," CEO Takeo Fukui said. "Honda must protect its core business activities and secure the long term." As global demand sinks to new lows, Honda has lowered its sales outlook through March and is trimming jobs in Japan and the UK. Honda’s F1 team employs more than 700 people in the UK.