Japanese team follows Honda and BMW out the sport to cut costs
4 November 2009

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”.

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"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"

Renault could also quit 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.

TMC posted its worst ever end of financial year results in March and is expected to announce tomorrow a large operating loss for the first six months of this year. There had been clues that the team could be poised to quit in recent months; it pulled its Fuji circuit from the F1 calendar and ended an engine supply deal with Williams a year early.

The Cologne-based team made its debut in the sport in 2002 and competed in 139 grands prix. It achieved three pole positions and 13 podium finishes in that time, with a best constructor’s finish of fourth place.

After a promising start to this season, its form dipped and ended up fifth in the standings, although two podiums late in the season showed improvement.

TMC president Akio Toyoda has said the firm’s decision was not down to poor results. "Our decision would not have changed even if we had a victory," he said. "The fact that we are unable to give our drivers a chance to compete is very sad."

Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli both the left the team at the end of this season and talented young Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi was set to race for the team next year. If money was an issue for Toyota, its pursuit of Kimi Raikkonen and Robert Kubica to lead the team next year suggested otherwise.

There are now no major Japanese manufacturers left in global motorsport after Toyota’s F1 departure. Subaru, Mitsubishi and Suzuki have all pulled out of the WRC in recent years, while tyre supplier Bridgestone has also left the sport. Toyota has vowed to continue in other motorsport categories, however.

"In motorsports, [Toyota] will not only race in various categories, but will also actively contribute to further development of motorsports by supporting grassroots races and planning events in which it is easy for people to participate," said the statement.

Its place on the grid next year is expected to go to the former BMW Sauber team.

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Comments
12

4 November 2009

Boo hoo

Plenty more suckers where they came from eh, Bern?

4 November 2009

Never mind, all they did was represent an expensive way to fail. As the advert used to say, the 'Car In Front, is(n't) a Toyota'

At least the Sauber team now get the slot and everything is hunky dory as they say.

Roll on Lotus!!!!

4 November 2009

Good news for the Sauber team as they can now fully prepare for next year. Too bad Kobayashi is left without a drive as he has been among the only bright spots for Toyota this year. Of course it is also a big blow for all the Toyota F1staff and certainly wish them all the best as it will be less than a happy year end.

4 November 2009

It makes sense.....these days, F1 technology is totally irrelevent to road cars!

4 November 2009

... is there now room for a team from Hesketh ??? ;o)

4 November 2009

I've had a feeling this was coming for months, and it's a bad move for Toyota. Just at the point when they'd secured a driver - Kobayashi - who may even have championship-winning potential, and as they would have entered a new season with a good chance of wins, they've given up, leaving only the vague memory of mediocrity.

4 November 2009

Poor old Kobayashi will probably have to go back to making sushi.

4 November 2009

another explicit case that high-end competition it is not made for the ones that can afford it, but for the ones that can keep up with it...

being that said, Toyota it is not in bad position at all, they can use the IS for touring championships and the "brand-new" LF-A for endurance...

but again, competition is tought and there are few place for rookies... and again they are strong in Asia and America, but in Europe how gives the pace to IS`s or worse to LF-A`s.

even Lamborghini faces a lot of trouble to convince teams to race with their cars.

They (Toyota) have the Cologne base, they should use it, at least.

4 November 2009

ouch. what a shame. was really looking forward to seeing kobayashi racing in 2010, still maybe there is a place for him somewhere. I guess manufacturers don't want to be in the sport unless they have a big budget, as of course they could have stayed in f1 with a small budget, they could at least match Williams or force india in terms of money.


4 November 2009

Gutted for Kobayashi...and frankly it's a damn shame to see any team bail on F1, especially for cashflow reasons.

Odd that the largest manufacturer in the world can't afford it, but several of the much smaller ones can...but I guess that's why Toyota (current poisition aside) has been so profitable over the years.

And agreed - that Sauber can get back into F1 is an excellent silver lining.

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