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Toyota confirms F1 quit decision
(GMM)  Toyota Motor Corporation confirmed officially on Wednesday its decision to pull out of formula one with immediate effect.

"Based on the current economic environment, we realize we have no choice but to withdraw," said the Japanese carmaker's president Akio Toyoda at a news conference in Tokyo.

"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."

"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 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."

"This was a difficult but ultimately unavoidable decision," Toyoda was quoted as saying by Reuters. "Since last year with the worsening economic climate, we have been struggling with the question of whether to continue in F1. We are pulling out of Formula 1 completely.

"I offer my deepest apologies to Toyota's many fans for not being able to achieve the results we had targeted."

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