Suzuki has pulled its team out of the World Rally Championship today (December 15). The news comes a fortnight after Honda announced it will withdraw from Formula One unless a buyer can be found for its team in the next three months.
The Suzuki team, which had sponsorship deals with Shell, Pirelli and Japan Airlines, says it is pulling out of the WRC after seven years due to business concerns “caused by recent global economic turmoil.”
In a statement, the company says: “To secure its own business environment for tomorrow, the organisation reviews every aspect of the operations and decided to focus on the core business functions such as the manufacturing system, environment technologies, and development of new-generation powertrains for cars. As a result, Suzuki concluded to suspend the WRC activities from 2009.”
The carmaker is also pulling out of the Junior World Rally Championship (JWRC). Sponsors for Suzuki’s WRC teams and JWRC teams have been informed of the decision and have agreed to end their deals.
The WRC and JWRC are both owned by governing body Federation Internationale de L’Automobile (FIA), also owner of F1. The FIA recently warned that its racing events would only survive for one more year unless drastic spending cuts are implemented.