Japanese newspapers criticise Honda over pull-out from F-1

TOKYO: Japanese newspapers have made Honda Motor a target of harsh criticism after its abrupt withdrawal from Formula One.

Honda announced the shock pull-out on Friday citing the financial crisis, ending an involvement in the sport which dates back to the 1960s.

Most of the F-1 commentators said Honda had simply given up after its recent poor performance since returning as a full constructor in 2006.

"Honda, as we knew it in its first F-1 period (1964-68) and the second period (1983-1992), didn''t give a damn and went on its way, win or lose," one critic wrote in a newspaper.

"Fighting right now without calling time is what F1 is all about. Not putting things off. That''s what Honda Motor Co. has taught the Japanese people," he added.

Another commentator accused Honda of deserting fans after it stirred them up "and consumed their expectations as a kind of fuel."

"Honda has publicly declared that ''racing is our DNA'' and behaved as if it was a company symbolising motorsport," he wrote in a sports publication.

"For being that way, it is socially responsible as a member of the racing world ... That responsibility is something that cannot be abandoned in such a selfish manner."

Honda''s team racked up just three wins over the years but its engines powered drivers including world champions Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost to 69 victories.

A columnist said Honda''s success in the European-dominated sport had been in important in helping Japanese overcome a collective inferiority complex.