Honda Motor Co. and Audi have pulled out of high-profile racing series, raising fears that tight budgets might lead others to drop out.
Honda withdrew from Formula One racing to save more than $200 million a year. President Takeo Fukui wants to sell the team and won't field a car when the season starts in March. "This difficult decision has been made in light of the quickly deteriorating operating environment," Fukui said.
Audi's factory team, Audi Sport North America, won't compete in the 2009 American Le Mans Series.
The 350 engineers working on Honda's Formula One project will be transferred to other duties, including the development of hybrid drivetrains, Fukui said.
Max Mosley, president of Formula One's governing body, warned that others may follow Honda if costs are not cut dramatically, Autosport.com reported.
Les Unger, a spokesman for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., said, "We're looking at our budgets," but added, "we fully intend to compete in the NASCAR series" next year.
A GM spokesman said racing and all marketing efforts will be reviewed closely in light of GM's problems.
(Source: Automotive News)