The Formula 1 world has been shocked by Honda’s sudden decision to quit the sport.
Unless a buyer is found F1 will be down to nine teams with 18 cars in 2009, and Jenson Button may find himself without a team to drive for.
But as the economic downturn puts even greater pressure on car makers, will more of them follow Honda’s lead in quitting the sport?
Formula 1’s remaining teams are a mix of manufacturer-backed outfits (Ferrari, BMW, Renault, Toyota and McLaren-Mercedes) and independents (Williams, Force India, Red Bull and Toro Rosso).
F1 has been debating for years how to cut costs to allow independent teams to compete with the wealthy car manufacturers. But with those car makers now reporting massive falls in sales, cost cutting is now seen as vital to secure the future of Formula 1.
Is F1 now an unnecessary extravagance for car manufacturers? Is it right for them to spend in excess of $400m per year on a Formula 1 team while factories are closed, jobs lost and unsold cars pile up?