Toyota drop Ralf Schumacher

Ralf Schumacher, Silverstone, 2007, testingRalf Schumacher’s prospects of racing in F1 in 2008 look slim as Toyota have announced he will not race for them next year.

The announcement comes one day after Timo Glock, who has been linked his fellow German’s Toyota drive, won the GP2 championship. The past two GP2 champions, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, both went straight into F1. Glock is contracted to BMW, but they have already confirmed Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica for 2008.

Schumacher may hope to find driving opportunities at Williams (who he raced for from 1999-2004, and who may be keen to drop Alexander Wurz), Spyker, Super Aguri or Prodrive.

Renault boss Flavio Briatore has confirmed he is trying to get Fernando Alonso to return to Renault, presumably to replace Giancarlo Fisichella, which would leave a gap at McLaren.

But would the team who look set to scoop the drivers’ championship this year want to sign a driver who’s had a notably poor 2007 campaign?

More likely, Schumacher faces a choice between driving for a non-manufacturer team, or following his illustrious brother into retirement 12 months after Michael quit.

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19 comments on Toyota drop Ralf Schumacher

  1. Magnus said on 1st October 2007, 16:18

    I’ts interesting that he delivers the news himself, is he trying to save face? “No no, I wasn’t fired by Toyota, I walked out cause they couldn’t give me a good enough car.”

  2. Yes, he published it on his website in a way it is all his decision:

    “And I still get on well with the Japanese mentality. But I am waiting for years for a competitive car.

    Toyota also was a nice and interesting experience – particularly the cooperation with the team, engineers and mechanics. Still, it’s time now to look for a new challenge.”

    and then

    “For me, the financial aspect is far less important than the chance of being involved in the development of a car and being successful afterwards”

    Unless he is looking for new challenges outside of F1, what he announced sounds ridiculous … What is there left for him ? Realistically race seats available to him would all be worse than Toyota. Is he looking for a test driver job ?

  3. Vertigo said on 1st October 2007, 16:59

    There is nowhere for Ralf to go. All the teams who can afford to pay him what he thinks he is worth (McLaren, Ferrari, Renault, Honda, BMW, Red Bull, Toyota) don’t want him, and the teams who he could be useful for in terms of sponsorship (Toro Rosso, Spyker) couldn’t afford to pay him. He is no loss to F1.

  4. Rohan said on 1st October 2007, 18:41

    I would be very surprised if we ended up taking Ralf back, especially after the way he left us. In fact, I’d go so far as to say we’d renew Wurz’ contract rather than re-sign Ralf.

  5. At least Ralf realised the game was up before he was forced out. That said, I can’t see him in F1 next year.

  6. oliver said on 1st October 2007, 20:32

    toyota probably allowed him to make the announcement so he saves face. how many drivers has toyota sent already to the retirement home

  7. C-type said on 1st October 2007, 21:54

    It was nice of Toyota to allow Ralph to ‘save face’, something they would put store on.
    RS, is, imo, a driver still capable given a good car. I think I’m right in saying that he has said previously that he would race under a ‘DC’ type performance contract. Williams had a lot of good things to say about him.

  8. Finding a new stable will be almost impossible. Ralf is a good driver he was on a team that is truly trying to build a quality race team. The very deep pockets of Toyota showed this. He may be telling us in some way that next years Toyota may not be any better than this years car. He has made some good money so being a test driver could be just what he needs/wants. I agree that the teams that can afford him do not need him or may not want him so see ya Ralf.

  9. Johnny said on 2nd October 2007, 1:59

    i realize ralf is a bit of a whiner… but I hope he gets a drive somewhere next year id like to see him in a car that suits his style a bit more. He was quick when he had a good car. Oh well it will be interesting to see who comes to toyota

  10. Daniel said on 2nd October 2007, 2:36

    I believe that Ralf is a good driver, better than Barrichello, Coulthard or even Fisichella. The problem is that he only can deliver when the team give him a good car to drive. To work on the car itself and extract, say, 6 tenths, he is useless. He had nice fights with Montoya a few years ago, but, as the names mentioned above, it’s all over for him.

  11. Eric M. said on 2nd October 2007, 3:12

    If Ralf was somehow able to switch to a different (and better) team we might see him return to form, much like we saw when he went to Williams in 1999, after a terrible year at Jordan. But honestly I think it’s pretty much over for him.

  12. I am not surprised that he is leaving Toyota but the problem is that his stay at Toyota does not prove to anyone that he is worth a ride anywhere else. That could be early retirement for him unless something dramatic happens between now and the start of next season.

  13. Eric M. said on 2nd October 2007, 8:22

    In a way I feel for the guy though, having left Williams hoping that Toyota, with one of the biggest budgets in Formula One, would produce a competitive car. It basically wound up being a career move gone wrong, and now he’s facing early retirement.

    But that said, it shouldn’t be counted as an excuse for his poor performances, or for him being consistently out-paced by his teamate. Bad car or not, you think he would have learned something from Michael about getting the most out of inferior equipment.

  14. AndyJ said on 2nd October 2007, 12:42

    crap team, crap driver….

  15. Jimmy K said on 2nd October 2007, 18:16

    Is the timing suspicous to anyone else that this comes right after his ‘early retirement’ from Japanese GP? does anyone know if he had a car problem? or did he decidedly pull in to garage because he wasn’t comfortable with the conditions? that could certainly have speed up his exit from Toyota F1, this being their first-ever home race, in a country thats always been so supportive of Ralph. ego, salary, poor performance, and the last straw

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