Tsutomu Tomita to leave Toyota Motorsport
Toyota Motorsport today announces that Tsutomu Tomita (pictured right) will stand down as Chairman and Team Principal at end of June 2007. Tomita will be replaced by Tadashi Yamashina, current Toyota Motorsport Vice Chairman.
Tomita, 63, has been based at Toyota Motorsport's headquarters in Cologne, Germany since 2003, but, as is normal for Toyota senior executives following a long overseas assignment, he will return to Japan in the middle of the year where new assignments await him within the Toyota group of Companies.
Tomita will assume responsibilities for other activities, and as is customary, these will be announced and confirmed as the Board of Directors meetings and shareholders resolutions are completed.
Tomita has been a driving force behind Toyota's motorsport involvement, having taken charge of motorsport engines in 1987, including those which subsequently won World Rally Championships and claimed podium finishes at the Le Mans 24 Hours. He also oversaw Toyota's entrance into single-seater racing in the United States, which saw a first CART series title in 2002 and an IRL Indianapolis 500 victory on Toyota's debut in 2003.He joined the board of Toyota Motor Corporation in 1996 and took control of all motorsport activities, giving him a crucial role in the establishment of Panasonic Toyota Racing in Formula 1.
In the position of Chairman and Team Principal, he has helped establish Panasonic Toyota Racing as an ambitious team with the potential to succeed.
Tomita said: "Since 2002 I have been involved in Toyota's Formula 1 project which has been one of the most challenging and exciting periods of my career. In fact the detailed preparation for entry into Formula 1 started more than four years before we entered our first race. I would like to thank all of those involved in Toyota, Formula 1, at our sponsors and of course at Toyota Motorsport who have welcomed, helped and encouraged me as I have faced this challenge. I am pleased to pass this on to Mr. Yamashina whom I am sure will continue to build from the platform which has been established over the past six years. I am looking forward to celebrating Toyota's first victory in Formula 1 which I believe will happen sooner rather than later, based on the technological capability and competent team of people which has and is being established in Cologne."
Tomita's role will be taken by Tadashi Yamashina, who joined Toyota Motorsport as Vice Chairman in December 2006. Yamashina, who is also a Managing Officer of Toyota Motor Corporation in charge of the Motorsport Division and Motorsport Business Management Department, has strengthened technical development for the 2007 season since his arrival.
Yamashina said: "Tomita san has been involved in a number of Toyota's motorsport activities throughout his career including Formula 1 from its very beginning. He has been one of its central pillars over the last two decades and I am both proud and pleased to succeed him. I will continue the challenge he has pursued over the past years with the same courage and applying vigorous creativity as we strive to become a winning team in the worlds most severe and demanding motorsport, Formula 1."
Tsutomu is part of Toyota's Formula 1 heritage and we will remain in close contact with him.