DECEMBER 22, 2008

Watch out for the Koreans

There is much talk of David Richards taking over the Honda F1 team, and there are clear signs that is his intention. The big question is where he will find the money to run the team for the next two-three years as F1 restructures and downsizes to balance its books. His usual source of funding is Kuwait but Investment Dar is struggling right now and is mortgaging assets so an F1 investment, even to support Aston Martin, is not likely.

The other name that we have heard mentioned is that of Korea's Hyundai Kia Automotive Group. This is the world's fifth largest automaker, producing 1.6 million units annually, but it has no profile at all in the sport at the moment, although the company was involved in the World Rally Championship until 2003. Its aim is to become a global quality brand and the company is understood to be heavily involved in the planned Korean GP that will begin in 2010. Hyundai Kia is also expanding into hybrid technology and there may be some value in taking on Honda's environmental message (although some sponsorship would definitely help).