Toyota’s withdrawal could be beginning of end for GPMA

UPDATE "The GPMA respects Toyota's decision to leave the GPMA and wishes to thank Toyota for the support and dedication it has shown to the other manufacturers and the sport. During Toyota's tenure, the GPMA has agreed a Memorandum of Understanding with the sport's commercial rights holder and made progress in its discussions with the governing body" the GPMA stated.

"The GPMA will continue its efforts to address the long term-strategic issues of Formula One, and the manufacturers and their teams remain dedicated to establishing a satisfactory regulatory structure and finalizing a new Concorde Agreement. The GPMA already cooperates with car manufacturers who are not formal members and Toyota will remain an intrinsic part of that process. Toyota will be welcome to rejoin the manufacturers' alliance at a later stage."

08/14/06 Toyota Motorsport GmbH has confirmed today that it will leave the GPMA (Grand Prix Manufacturers Association). Toyota, one of the 5 founding members of the association, believes the GPMA has achieved its initial goals, particularly with regards to the Memorandum of Understanding recently signed with the commercial rights holder for the 2008-2012 seasons.

Toyota has always believed that the fundamental role of the GPMA is to make constructive contributions in an advisory capacity to the sport in the pursuit of protecting Formula 1 as the forerunner of technological innovation. However, Toyota believes that the GPMA is currently focused more on operational details rather than the long-term strategic outlook for the future technology of Formula 1.

As a result, Toyota will step down from the GPMA to avoid inhibiting activities which the majority of other members may wish to pursue.

Nevertheless, Toyota fully recognizes the role of the GPMA and will remain open to dialogue and cooperation in the future. Should the overall situation change, Toyota would consider rejoining the GPMA at that point.

Toyota reconfirms its long-term commitment to Formula 1 until 2012. This commitment is underlined by Toyota's current supply of engines to Midland and its future engagement to supply engines to Williams F1 for the coming three years. Toyota believes that engine supply to private teams should be a central pillar of the objectives of those manufacturers' competing in F1.

Chairman and Team Principal Tsutomu Tomita stated, "We appreciate the contribution of the GPMA to date, but now it is important for us to shift our efforts and focus on our own sporting development. Toyota's position has already been put forward in the past: we want to retain F1 as the pinnacle of motorsport, to keep the technical challenge by not imposing unnatural restrictions on the technology used in F1 car development, to continue to attract and provide excitement to fans and importantly to adopt a positive attitude towards independent teams through offering technical support and supplying engines. At the same time we cannot forget that all cars makers are making significant investments to protect the global environment and F1 manufacturers should actively propose concrete technical rules that lead the FIA in this direction."

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