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DATE News (chronologically)
12/22/08
f1
Others may follow Honda out of F1  UPDATE #2 Toyota said that it remained committed to grand-prix racing, however. "We have absolutely no plans to withdraw from formula one," a spokeswoman, Yoshie Matsuura, told the Guardian newspaper.  When asked about the company's plans for the coming season, a Toyota executive was more vague. "Formula one and motor sport in general are very popular among young people, and we are committed to keeping it that way," he said.

12/22/08 (GMM)  The eyes of the formula one world have flicked nervously to Toyota, not yet three weeks after fellow struggling Japanese carmaker Honda announced it is withdrawing from the sport.

Toyota, the world's largest automaker, said in a statement on Monday it expected to record its first ever operating loss, to the tune of $1.7 billion in the year through March.

The projected loss replaces the previous prediction of a $6.7 billion profit, raising serious questions about the manufacturer's commitment to its Cologne based formula one team.

"The environment we're in is extremely tough," president Katsuaki Watanabe told reporters in Nagoya.  "We're facing an unprecedented emergency situation.  Unfortunately, we can't see the bottom."

In an attempt to cut costs due to the slumping demand for new cars and the stronger yen, Toyota has already cut contract jobs, production and executive pay including board members' bonuses.

12/05/08 Motorsport boss Max Mosley has warned that there is a "serious danger" another car manufacturer could follow Honda out of Formula One.

Mosley, president of governing body the International Automobile Federation (FIA), said Honda's exit was "very sad but it's not entirely a surprise".

Mosley said it was imperative the sport cut its soaring costs - with top teams spending about £300m a year.

Mosley derided the team's cost-cutting proposals as "fiddling about".

The Formula One Teams Association (Fota) met on Thursday to discuss its own proposals and said they had agreed to "substantial cost-cutting for 2009 and 2010, and additional initiatives to improve the show".

Fota also agreed a "new, low-cost engine will be introduced in 2011".

The organization said it would submit these proposals to the FIA, but Mosley said on Friday that they did not go anywhere near far enough.

He described Honda's decision to quit F1 and try to sell its team as a "very significant warning".

"If the teams don't notice now what's happened, you have to abandon all hope for them," he added.

"The teams who met are all subsidiaries of these big companies and they could get a fax in the morning saying: 'We're stopping this, which is effectively what happened with Honda.

"So if they don't wake up to it now, they'll probably get a nasty shock in the future.

"But our job is to take action to make sure that won't happen. That's why we've sent out a letter to the teams this morning setting out or plans to get the costs right down."

Mosley said no changes could be made to the rules for 2009, but that he would make dramatic changes for 2010.

He says the FIA can supply a standard engine and gearbox to teams through a central supplier for 5m Euro (£4.3m) a year, as well as a standardization of some chassis parts.

Teams would be able to design their own version of that engine, or continue with their current designs restricted to ensure they had no advantage.

"The danger with these big companies is they may follow Honda, so if we make it possible for them to compete very inexpensively, by their standards, then the situation is much safer," he stated.

"The objective has to be to enable a team to say to manufacturer: 'We can actually get by without a subsidy.'

"If we can achieve that, then I think we will keep the manufacturers in.

"If we can't, then when they're looking to cut costs - which all of them are now because car sales have collapsed - then they will start to look at F1 and say do we really need this, and come to the same conclusion as Honda."

He said he would not be diverted from his plans.

"Our position is very simple. We will say, these are the rules for the 2010 championship.

"If you don't want to enter, you don't have to. If you'd like to set up your own series with unlimited expenditure you can do so, but if you want to run in the F1 world champ these are the rules." BBC

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