Japanese auto companies are bailing out of international motorsports, trying to save money during the global auto crunch.
Last week Toyota dropped out of Formula One racing, two days after tire supplier Bridgestone did, too. Honda quit the series last December. No Japanese teams remain in F1.
At the end of 2008, Subaru maker Fuji Heavy Industries and Suzuki withdrew from the FIA World Rally Championship. And in July, Fuji International Speedway, owned by Toyota, surrendered hosting rights for the Japanese Grand Prix in 2010 and beyond.
The moves reflect the absence of auto profits. When Honda pulled out of F1 racing, it estimated the move could save nearly $1 billion.
Toyota didn't divulge its annual F1 budget, but some think it's around $300 million. That was a tidy sum for a carmaker that posted losses last year--both in its financials and on the track. Since joining Formula One in 2002, Toyota hasn't won a single race.
(Source: Automotive News)