Okay, let’s take stock and see where we are. I don’t mean to be downbeat about all of the crappy news we’ve had over the last six weeks, but I do think it prudent to give a summary of what has changed since the end of the 2008 racing season.
– Honda out of F1. Big news for all concerned. Since last week, Honda has claimed they have 3 potential buyers lined up. I’m not sure how likely that is. I hope someone does buy the team and continue, even if they have to make swingeing cuts to survive. If nobody buys it we’re down to 18 cars and dangerously close to the other teams having to field a third car per Bernie’s contracts. Team orders? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
– Audi out of ALMS and LMS. I’d half-suspected they’d only do the LMS for the one year, the bigger surprise to me is dropping the ALMS almost entirely apart from Sebring. Instead they choose to take a new car to Sebring and Le Mans (and I bet they show up at Petit as well). Methinks Peugeot will win Le Mans.
– AGR out of Acura/ALMS and into A1GP. I’m sure if they jumped or if they were pushed, either way you have to think running the A1 car is a significant cost-saving over developing a prototype sportscar – I’m assuming they were helping develop it.
– Penske out of ALMS, and seemingly no Porsches at all in P2 in America OR Europe. Weird. In the US someone needs to run a customer car to go against Acura, and in Europe there are are easy wins going begging.
– I was going to mention GT1 collapsing globally, but I think that was happening anyway.
– SEAT out of BTCC. This was an announcement a couple of months back. SEAT are out of British Touring Cars, although they seem to be continuing in World Touring. The claim at the time was SEAT UK had met its marketing expectations and had reached the end of the programme. Now we’ve had all these other announcements, I’m not so sure that’s true.
– If any of the US carmakers go under (particularly GM) then it will knock on to racing activities somewhere or other, especially NASCAR but all over the world as well in Aussie V8s (Holden), WTCC (Chevrolet), BTCC (Vauxhall), and who knows where else.
– Don’t forget Super Aguri’s collapse earlier in the year.
There will have been more I’ve missed here (let me know in the comments), and more will unfortunately follow I’m sure.
One thing is very clear. 2009 is going to have a VERY different look.
Don’t get too disheartened though, think of this as a natural correction. Things got way out of hand especially in Formula 1. It’s time for a bit of restructuring before we head into the eco era.
Some good news:
– Acura is still moving up to P1 in ALMS as well as running a couple of P2 cars.
– BMW will have a new GT2 car in ALMS which will be run by Rahal/Letterman. A group of BMW’s WTCC drivers have been out at Road Atlanta developing it.
– Audi will have their new R8 GT car out. I saw it marked as a GT3 but I’m sure I’ve seen word of it going into GT2.
– More independent/privateer cars entering touring cars and world rally. This is a mixed blessing. Sometimes these teams and/or drivers are delusional no-hopers making up the numbers, yet sometimes it allows an underfunded but otherwise excellent team to take part and prove themselves. I like those guys, I always root for them.
– Honda’s F1 woes will not affect their IndyCar, MotoGP, ALMS interests or any other racing activity.
– IRL will seemingly still get 24+ cars at each round.
– We still have shitloads of racing – Too Much Racing for one person to follow, and long may it be so.
Again, let me know of any more good news in the comments.
Sorry for not posting on Friday as promised.