Honda has confirmed that Gabriele Tarquini will not be racing for the manufacturer in the 2016 World Touring Car Championship season.
Tarquini splitting with Honda's squad will likely see the 53-year-old’s sidelined from the 2016 WTCC campaign, with no other factory drives available for next year.
The Japanese marque, however, has indicated the Italian may be involved in their other motorsport programmes.
Honda is now planning to announce its new driver line-up at the start of 2016.
“I have many, many good memories of racing with Honda over the years, and we go back a long way,” said Tarquini.
“I totally respect [Honda's] decision for next year, and will only keep good memories of our seasons together.
"I am proud to have been a part of Honda’s return to World Touring Cars, and wish the team all the very best.
"My main objectives remain to continue to race next year so I am currently exploring options, but in parallel I am continuing to talk to Honda about remaining involved in their future programmes outside of WTCC.”
Honda’s other touring car efforts include a programme with Dongfeng Honda in the China Touring Car Championship, while Honda’s motorsport partner JAS Motorsport fields Civics in the TCR International Series.
“We are incredibly grateful for everything Gabriele has given to Honda, both most recently in WTCC and throughout his career,” said Robert Watherston of Honda.
“He’s played a significant role in our touring car efforts over the years, not least in helping develop the current Honda Civic WTCC machine from which the Civic Type R road car is derived.
“For 2016 we have taken the decision to refresh our factory effort with the Castrol Honda WTCC team, which means that whilst we are naturally sad to lose Gabriele, we wave goodbye to him with fondness in our hearts and good memories of a great relationship.
"For Gabriele, we are now looking at other opportunities within the Honda Racing family and I personally would like to wish him all the very best.
"For the Castrol Honda WTCC team, we will be able to announce more changes and our renewed driver line-up in due course as we reset our sights on next year’s championship.”
Neil Hudson / TouringCarTimes