New row could cost F1 a carmaker

UPDATE (GMM) One of the Toyota Motor Corporation's highest-ranking officials has dismissed speculation that the Japanese marque might pull out of F1 in the near future.

After nearly five years on the grid, the big-spending Cologne-based squad has failed to win a single grand prix, and is at odds with the FIA's vision to cut costs by reducing the onslaught of unfettered technology.

Nevertheless, Executive Vice President Kazuo Okamoto insisted that Toyota is not about to pull the plug.

''We do not think about such a thing,'' the Japanese was quoted as saying by 'Eurosport AutoMagazin'.

''Don't forget the investments we have made into our race team, the work at Cologne or the circuit at Fuji

''Our goal is the world championship and we will get there.''

He also played down the significance of Toyota's infamous rivalry, and any suggestion that if Honda pulled out of the sport it would be easier for Toyota to follow.

Okamoto said: ''In every respect we have other competitors, in formula one as well as in the world market — BMW, Fiat, Mercedes, Renault.''

06/08/06 (GMM) The argument about money is now over, but F1's governing body is locked in a new battle about technical freedom that could cost the sport one or two carmakers.

FIA president Max Mosley said this week that he would not back down over his proposal to 'freeze' engine technology for several years starting from 2008, but he denied as 'complete nonsense' that the idea is to actually force non-compliant outfits like Honda and Toyota to quit.

''The way to get rid of the manufacturers is to let it continue as it is,'' Mosley, who will appear in his own press conference at Silverstone on Friday, told Auto Motor Und Sport.

He said: ''The only way to keep them is to get the costs down.''

However, although Mosley traditionally dismisses the carmakers' threats, it is a fact that – while they are committed for 2008 – there is nothing presently requiring them to race in subsequent years.

And Honda's Nick Fry told Autosport magazine: ''F1 is important to us, but the world will not come to an end if we stop doing it.''

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