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DATE News (chronologically)
11/04/09
fr1
Toyota apologizes to its fans  Toyota Motor Corp president Akio Toyoda believes he has betrayed the team's fans after making the painful decision to axe the Formula 1 operation.

Toyoda, the grandson of the company's founder, insists he had to act for financial reasons, notably after Toyota announced the biggest loss in its history in March. The world's largest car maker is now the third major manufacturer to withdraw from F1 in the space of 11 months after Honda and BMW.  Toyota's departure continues the exodus of Japanese companies from motor sport as Subaru and Suzuki withdrew from the World Rally Championship prior to this season. In motorbikes, Kawasaki pulled out of MotoGP, while on Monday, tire manufacturer Bridgestone announced it will not be renewing its supply contract in F1 after next season.

"Toyota Racing took part in 140 races and surely developed their ability one race after another," said Toyoda in a media conference in Tokyo. "I would like to show my respect to their hard work in the competitions against top teams in the world. I would like to express my gratitude from my heart for sharing the dreams with them.

"I myself support motor sports, and have worked hard to make motor sports a part of motor culture. However, after taking the presidency in June, my situation has changed and I hope you can understand that.

"Since the economic crisis last year, we have discussed within our company whether we should continue in F1 or not, and our F1 team worked on the cost cutting. We have worked on all kinds of things. After the final race finished (Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix], we held an extraordinary board meeting and came to the conclusion we had to decide to withdraw. Betraying the fans was a hard thing to do, and I was the one who made the final decision."

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