Toyota pulls out of Formula 1

Toyota has announced that it is to pull out of Formula 1 with immediate effect

Toyota pulls out of Formula 1

The Japanese car company revealed its surprise decision in a news conference in Tokyo today following an earlier board meeting. It said the current economic situation had prompted its departure.

"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"

There had been doubts about Toyota's F1 future after the company reported its first ever operating loss in March, and given the departures of fellow manufacturers Honda and BMW. Toyota had also pulled its Fuji track, which hosted the 2007 and 2008 Japanese Grands Prix, from the calendar, and its customer team Williams decided to end its engine deal a year early.

But Toyota signed the new Concorde Agreement, committing it to the world championship through 2012, and team boss John Howett was adamant that the squad would be on the grid in 2010, although there were hints of a reduced budget.

The team had been pressing ahead with 2010 preparations - approaching big name drivers including Kimi Raikkonen and Robert Kubica, and talking of signing impressive stand-in Kamui Kobayashi for next year as recently as last weekend. Current drivers Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock had already been expected to move on.

"TMC also wants to express its heartfelt gratitude to all Panasonic Toyota Racing drivers to date and to all Toyota Motorsport GmbH employees who have helped make the team's achievements possible," said the statement.

"TMC intends to do its best to find a solution for those parties who will be affected by any inconvenience this decision may cause."

Toyota entered F1 in 2002, and was tipped to swiftly become a championship challenger given its huge budget and resources. But it failed to win a race and has just three pole positions, 13 podium finishes, and a best result of fourth in the 2005 constructors' standings to show for its 139 grands prix.

The departure of Toyota is set to throw the former BMW Sauber team a lifeline, as the Hinwil squad and its new owners had been relying on another team dropping out in order to claim the final spot in next season's expanded 26-car entry.

Renault is also holding an extraordinary board meeting to discuss its future plans today. Although the indications are that the French company is committed to F1, Toyota's decision to pull out could give Renault an opportunity to follow suit if it wished.

Toyota added that it would continue to use its F1 experience in "developing exciting production vehicles" and that it would remain involved in motor racing, albeit at a lower level.

"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."

shares
comments
Toyota set to announce it is leaving F1

Previous article

Toyota set to announce it is leaving F1

Next article

Toyota apologises for lack of success

Toyota apologises for lack of success
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams Toyota Racing
Author Matt Beer
The toe-in-water origins of Lotus’s groundbreaking F1 journey Plus

The toe-in-water origins of Lotus’s groundbreaking F1 journey

In the first part of our history of Lotus, DAMIEN SMITH recalls how Formula 1 wasn’t an immediate priority for team founder Colin Chapman – but once he got a taste for it he just couldn’t stop…

How Hamilton’s qualifying record compares to Senna and Schumacher Plus

How Hamilton’s qualifying record compares to Senna and Schumacher

Lewis Hamilton has just become the first driver to record 100 world championship Formula 1 pole positions. Time to revisit a debate we discussed when he reached 150 front row starts in 2020.

Formula 1
May 8, 2021
Why sustainability is being mandated by F1 Plus

Why sustainability is being mandated by F1

Continuing to be socially acceptable as public views shift globally is vitally important to the future of motor racing, says PAT SYMONDS - especially in Formula 1, the championship that represents the technological peak

Formula 1
May 8, 2021
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull's title credentials, and heap pressure on Verstappen Plus

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull's title credentials, and heap pressure on Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one big encouraging sign for Red Bull. The trouble is, it looks like making good on that gain will require its superstar driver to avoid repeating a mistake made today that left him well down the FP2 order

Formula 1
May 7, 2021
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Plus

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his team-mate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon

Formula 1
May 6, 2021
What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Plus

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight

Formula 1
May 5, 2021
The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Plus

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Portuguese Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warmup. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021