Honda’s withdrawal from Formula One presents an opportunity for another company – not necessarily in the automotive business – to acquire a product or brand marketing channel with a vast global audience, the Motorsport Industry Association’s chief executive told just-auto on Friday.

Honda earlier today stunned the motorsport world with the shock decision announced in Tokyo to withdraw from Formula One and sell its team, putting 800 jobs at the team’s base here in England at risk. The automaker, whose name has for decades been synonomous with bike and car racing, said it would now focus on new production models and environment-friendly hybrid technology.

“We regret Honda withdrawing but this has happened before,” mia CEO Chris Aylett said.

“Companies use Formula One and motorsport for their marketing aims and, when they’re not achieving their marketing aims, they move on.

“The historic evidence is that others come and take advantage of the investments that have been made and there is a magnificent team and investment opportunity there. Great people and a great team, led by the most successful racing engineer in Britain for many years, Ross Brawn.”

Brawn is a former technical director at Ferrari and won multiple world championships with Michael Schumacher. He moved to run the Honda team at the end of last year.

“I know that interested parties have already been looking at it because Formula One, at a certain price, offers a very good vehicle for marketing, whether it’s technology marketing or product marketing,” Aylett added.

“So all is not lost.”

He said the average cost of running a Formula One team was around EUR300m a year. “Some spend EUR500m, some spend less.”

He said he understood that Honda, having decided to withdraw had made the entry price “very attractive” though he did not know how much.

Aylett said he thought some automotive companies around the world might be interested “as long as the budgets of Formula One are brought a little bit more under control”. A team could then be run for far less than average.

International Automobile Federation (FIA) president Max Mosley told Reuters today the body was in exclusive negotiations with Cosworth, Xtrac and Ricardo Transmissions to provide a complete powertrain.

“We can get the cost down from the current GBP200m ($293.4m)-plus (per team) down to about GBP30m at which point the income from television and the income from sponsors covers it and you don’t need these huge subsidies from the car industry,” Mosley told the news agency.

Meanwhile, Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz said Formula One teams must cut costs by at least half over the next two years although its own financial position remained solid, according to Reuters.

“Within the Formula One Teams Association (Fota) we’re working very hard on measures to cut costs, and over the next two years we must achieve cuts of at least 50%,” Mercedes Motorsport head Norbert Haug told the news agency.

“Our Formula One involvement is built on financially solid foundations and is in large part financed by our sponsoring partners,”

“This [Honda] pullout is very sad,” he told Reuters. “It only shows how important the cost-cutting measures are that we’ve been advocating for more than five years, and which have only been realised to a small degree.

“Mercedes-Benz’s contribution is cost-efficient, the resonance in the media and in the public which last season and Lewis Hamilton’s win generated was worth many times our financial investment,” he said.

Audi was also reported to have said its US factory team would not take part in the American Le Mans Series, despite a series of wins since it first entered in 2000 while Toyota said it was also committed to cutting motorsport costs.

“We are contributing to the FOTA activities which will achieve significant cost reductions whilst maintaining the spirit of the sport,” a team statement said.

“We hope FOTA’s proposals and activities will be given the widespread support they deserve as they provide the sound, stable base Formula One requires at this time.”

Aylett saw opportunities outside the auto business.

Red Bull or Kingfisher have proved that some people in this world with product names can also acquire this opportunity to brand and market.

“One might say that the Red Bull and Kingfisher phenonemon have almost been the brightest and most exciting parts of the product for some time. There is a changing market here. Three hundred million or more people tune in, they want to be entertained, and, if you have a product you want to market, this is one way of doing it.”

“People are still going to be watching sport, recession or not, they’ll still be tuning in, and so the value on TV in terms of branding remains.”