Villeneuve says Honda decision 'political'

Former world champion Jacques Villeneuve believes that Honda's withdrawal from Formula One was primarily driven by a need to be seen to be saving money

Villeneuve says Honda decision 'political'

With Honda, like most car manufacturers, suffering from declining sales, Villeneuve thinks the decision is understandable against the current economic backdrop.

"I don't think F1 is one of Honda's biggest expenses, but with the world economic climate as it is you have to be perceived to be making cuts," Villeneuve, who drove for the Honda team in their BAR guise from 1999-2003, told autosport.com.

"I think it's more of a political decision."

Villeneuve also suggested that the team's recent lack of competitiveness - Honda have scored just 18 points and finished no higher than eight in the constructors' championship over the past two years - played a part in the decision.

"It's surprising because you don't expect teams to leave F1, but when you look at their results in recent years they've been struggling. From the outside, it makes sense."

Fellow former Formula One driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen believes that, had Honda continued under the direction of team principal Ross Brawn, they would have been able to return to the front of the field.

"It's sad that a long-term manufacturer with wins in the past has decided to quit," Frentzen told autosport.com. "I thought with Ross Brawn they would attack again. It's a big surprise."

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