Will Honda's F1 team race in 2009?

Scott Benjamin

The start of the 2009 Formula One racing season is about a month away, and it's really beginning to look as if Honda's F1 team may not be lining up with the rest of the competition in Melbourne, Australia, at the end of March. If you pay attention to the Formula One series, then you know the twists, turns and rumors that this ongoing story has provided over the past few months. As a matter of fact, the past few days have been interesting, too.

In a statement made by Takeo Fukui, President and CEO of Honda Motor Co., Ltd., on December 5, 2008, Honda made the "extremely difficult decision" to pull out of all Formula One activities. They put their F1 team up for sale citing the "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" as the reasoning behind their action. Perhaps this is understandable when you consider that the Honda F1 team is believed to have an operating budget of more than $300 million per year.

For a while, nothing particularly newsworthy happened; however, as the season opener approaches, the news activity surrounding the Honda team seems to be intensifying.

Recently, we've heard of at least two attempts to rescue the Honda team: Bernie Ecclestone, Formula One CEO, proposed an internal management buyout -- but the offer was rejected. Richard Branson, British entrepreneur and founder of the Virgin group has also expressed interest in the team, yet insisted that "certain conditions" need to be met first. It's been said that Branson wants the entire sport to become leaner and greener before he'll buy in. His offer was rejected, too.

As of today, the official Formula One Web site says that according to Mr. Fukui, Honda still can't find a "serious buyer" for their Formula One team.

So, if you happen to have a few hundred million dollars burning a hole in your pocket, you know what to do.

More Formula One stuff: How Formula One Works Video - Driving a Formula 1 Car: On the Racetrack F1 Race Car Image Gallery