Sir Jackie Stewart does not expect the beleaguered Honda team to be rescued ahead of the looming 2009 season.

Sir Jackie Stewart does not expect the beleaguered Honda team to be rescued ahead of the looming 2009 season.

The former triple world champion, whose employer RBS on Wednesday announced its departure from F1 at the end of next year, believes the numerous reports and widespread speculation about Honda's future have "all come to nothing" in the midst of the global financial crisis.

"The motor industry is in one of the most perilous positions, because if people aren't buying cars, then it filters through every other branch of the business, and most motoring teams are having to cut their cloth and cling on to existing contracts in the knowledge that it simply isn't the right time to be persuading new sponsors to come on board," the Scot told The Herald newspaper.

While 69-year-old Stewart wondered about Honda's prospects, former Minardi team owner and boss Paul Stoddart told Reuters that he doubts the newly-announced USF1 team will get off the ground.

"I believe we are a year or two away from getting the costs (in F1) completely under control and I don't believe that new teams will come from the US, I think they will come from within Europe," the Australian said.

Stoddart, who in 2007 took the Minardi name to America for the Champ Car entry Minardi Team USA, also expressed doubts about USF1's plans to be based in the States.

And he said: "I personally can't see how they are going to pull a major sponsor or investor out of the US when there's no race (there).

"Very few Americans care terribly much about formula one ... and I certainly found it harder to get money over here than in Europe."