Toyota to quit F1, mass exodus of Japanese from F1 UPDATE #4 Contrary to what has been given as a decisive reason by Honda, BMW, and Toyota for justifying their departures from Formula One, Ferrari insists that the real cause is not the economic crisis but rather the constant hammering the sport's authorities have dealt car manufacturers.
"In reality the steady trickle of desertion is more the result of a war against the big car manufacturers by those who managed the sport, than the effects of the economy that affected Formula 1 over the last years," a Ferrari statement issued on Wednesday declared.
The Italian team went so far as to compare the situation in F1 to Agatha Christie's famous novel Ten Little Indians.
"In Christie's detective novel the guilty person is only discovered when everybody else is dead, one after the other. Do we want to wait until this happens or should we write Formula 1's book with a different closing chapter?"
Ferrari blamed the political environment for the replacement of major manufacturers with independent operations which it believes cannot live up to the standards of Formula One, and even suggested that some may not have the funds to compete a full season.
"Over the last 12 months Honda, BMW, Bridgestone and this morning Toyota announced their retirements.
In exchange, if one could call it that, Manor, Lotus (because of the team of Colin Chapman, Jim Clark and Ayrton Senna, to name a few, there is hardly more than the name), USF1 and Campos Meta arrived," the Ferrari statement elaborated.
"You might say 'same-same' because it is enough if there are participants. But that's not entirely true and then we've got to see if next year we'll be really as many in Bahrain for the first starting grid of the 2010 season and how many will make it to the end of the season."
Along with Ferrari, the only carmakers which remain involved in F1 are Mercedes and Renault – although the latter is reportedly reviewing its involvement beyond the 2010 season.
The 2010 grid is expected to count 13 teams, of which four will be making their debut. F1-Live
11/04/09 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with this announcement.
11/03/09 (GMM) Toyota Motor Corporation will announce on Wednesday its decision to pull out of formula one with immediate effect.
Citing sources with prior knowledge of the news, multiple Japanese media reports carried the story, including the major daily Mainichi Shimbun as well as the Tokyo based news agency Kyodo.
A extraordinary board meeting is scheduled to formalize the decision, with president Akio Toyoda to front a news conference in Tokyo immediately afterwards.
With a team based in Cologne, Germany, Toyota entered the sport at the beginning of 2002, but in eight seasons and 139 grands prix failed to win a race.
Amid the slump in new car sales, the carmaker has forecast a multi-billion yen and euro loss for the current financial year.
Toyota's Japanese peer Honda pulled out of F1 at the end of last year, and the Japanese tire supplier Bridgestone will leave the sport at the end of its contract in 2010.
Toyota spokespeople were not confirming nor denying the news at the time of publication.11/03/09 This rumor is upgraded to 'strong.' According to the Mainichi Daily Newspaper from Japan, Toyota has decided that it will withdraw from Formula One. A meeting on 8 November was scheduled, but it appears that the board of directors have already decided against participation in 2010.
The newspaper reported: "Toyota Motor Corp., the world's largest car company with the biggest presence in motorsport has decided to withdraw from Formula One and not participate in 2010."
The newspaper also reports that several alternatives are being investigated to protect the employment of the member of the team, much like Honda did. It is thought that a transfer or a continued cooperation with Formula One of some sort is being looked into.
11/03/09 (GMM) Toyota has scheduled 8 November to announce its plans about the 2010 formula one season, it has emerged.
|Will Toyota stay in F1 to get embarrassed some more?|
It was expected that the Japanese carmaker's decision about whether to continue funding its Cologne based team would not be known until the much-vaunted Tokyo board meeting a week later.
Toyota's racing budgets are always approved in advance by the end-year board meeting, leaving some experts concerned that a separate announcement has been deemed necessary ahead of 2010.
The November 8 announcement was revealed by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport magazine, and the Independent newspaper in Britain also expects that "bad news" could be emanating from Toyota "later in the week".
"(Japanese) auto and auto-part makers are questioning what they can gain now by spending hundreds of millions of yen in taking part in formula one," said Tatsuya Mizuno, an auto analyst at Mizuno Credit Advisory. They already have been destroyed by the other manufacturers in F1 so the damage is done. Toyota is viewed as 2nd rate. zzzz
On the bright side, Toyota's withdrawal would make room for Sauber, whose official application to race in 2010 will be automatically activated in the event of a vacancy.
But it would be very bad news for Kamui Kobayashi, the Japanese F1 rookie who has impressed Toyota with his two races in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.
The 23-year-old told reporters before leaving the Yas Marina Circuit that he has "no budget" to fall back on GP2 in 2010, after finishing sixteenth in the F1 feeder category this season.
"I would probably go back to Japan to maybe work with my father in his sushi restaurant. It was like that two months ago," said Kobayashi.