Rumours have been strengthening throughout the day (Thursday) of the impending sale, and possible withdrawal from Formula One, of the Honda team. Concern began when the parent company, one of the world’s biggest motor manufacturers, announced a slump in sales as the worldwide economic crisis hits the automobile industry hard, and along with the announcement that Shuhei Nakamoto, formerly a technical director with the team, has left Honda F1 stories began to strengthen. Nakamoto has, however, been playing a less vital role in the F1 team – and will remain with the company in motorcycle racing, and his departure may be as a result of that rather than any imminent F1 crisis. However Joe Saward, at Grandprix.com, is reporting that a number of Honda F1 employees have suddenly announced themselves on the job market, and that there are reports of the team asking for voluntary redundancies and cutting its racing budget. Many sources, as Grandprix.com point out, are now saying that the team is about to be put up for sale, and it would appear the team are not replying to enquiries from the press. The most extreme stories state that if a buyer is not found by Christmas – just three weeks away – the team will be closed down, a situation that sounds drastic but is hardly implausible given the state of the motor industry. With Japan lagging behind Europe in terms of time it is thought unlikely that any announcement will be forthcoming before their morning, and many are expecting an announcement to confirm the above. A withdrawal by Honda would leave Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello out of drives, although the latter is thought to be about to be replaced. The news would be a blow to the apparent incumbent Bruno Senna, nephew of the late Ayrton Senna, who has tested for the Honda team in recent times.