How Toyota's grand plans for F1 domination fell flat
As Honda gets set to bow out of F1, again, at the end of 2021, MARK GALLAGHER looks back at the exploits of another famous Japanese manufacturer that spent too much money, adapted too slowly, achieved too little, then bowed out too soon in response to global economic rupture
For many, these fateful words mark the pinnacle of Toyota's contribution to Formula 1 between 2002 and 2009. Timo Glock, struggling with dry tyres on a wet track, handing Lewis Hamilton his first world title on the final lap of the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix, to the disbelief of race winner Felipe Massa, and the complete disgust of local fans.
In some ways it was 'peak Toyota'. Although Glock and team-mate Jarno Trulli both finished the race in the points, the team achieved fifth place in the constructors' championship and the parent company was proclaimed the world's largest car manufacturer just two months later, the die was cast for an ignominious F1 withdrawal a year later. Any remaining dreams of F1 glory were dashed on the rocks of the 2008 financial crisis.
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