Toyota has confirmed it will pull out of Formula One with immediate effect.
The firm announced the decision at a news conference this morning, having taken the decision in an earlier board meeting. Toyota is the third manufacturer to exit the sport in the last 12 months, after Honda and BMW also quit.
In a statement, the company said the current economic situation had made it impossible to continue in F1. The departure would allow it to focus on its core road car business and its F1 experiences would allow it to “develop exciting production vehicles”.
"Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) announces it plans to withdraw from the FIA Formula 1 world championship at the end of the 2009 season," said a Toyota statement.
"TMC, which had viewed its participation in F1 as contributing to the prosperity of automotive culture, remained dedicated to competing at the pinnacle of motor sports even in the face of the abrupt economic changes that started last year.
"However, when considering TMC's motorsports actitives next year and beyond from a comprehensive mid-term viewpoint reflecting the current severe economic realities, TMC decided to withdraw from F1"
Team boss John Howett had remained adamant the team would remain in the sport next year, albeit with a reduced budget, and it had committed itself to it until the end of 2012 by signing the new Concorde Agreement.