Toyota quits F1 after eight winless years

2009 F1 season

Toyota finished sixth and seventh in their final Grand Prix at Abu Dhabi

Toyota finished sixth and seventh in their final Grand Prix at Abu Dhabi

F1 has lost its third team in less than 12 months as Toyota has confirmed it will not compete in 2010.

It brings to an end the company’s eight-year involvement in Formula 1 during which time it is believed to have spent more money than any other team on the grid.

The team’s F1 future had been widely doubted since Honda withdrew at the end of 2008. Toyota originally entered F1 in 2002 to compete with Honda, which had returned as an engine supplier two years earlier.

Jarno Trulli, Toyota, Suzuka, 2009Toyota joins a host of Japanese car manufacturers reducing their motor racing activity. Subaru, Mitsubishi and Suzuki have all down-sized their rally efforts, with the former quitting the World Rally Championship.

Tyre manufacturer Bridgestone has also decided to leave F1 when its exclusive deal expires at the end of 2010. And the Toyota-owned Fuji Speedway, which was brought up to F1 standards to hold the Japanese Grand Prix in 2007 and 2008, will not be holding any more Grands Prix.

There were rumours earlier this year the team would only remain in F1 if it won a race. That it failed to do, despite locking out the front row of the grid at Bahrain. The failure to seize on that opportunity, and the demotion of both of its cars to the back of the grid at Melbourne – from where they rose to finish third and fourth – may have cost it its F1 future.

It ended 2009 fifth in the championship with 59.5 points. That was its second-best ever year in F1 – its highest placing was fourth with 88 points, in 2005.

Despite its lack of success there were some grounds for optimism the team would continue. Toyota boss John Howett was the vice-president of the Formula 1 teams’ association. He played a major role in the negotiations with the FIA over how F1 costs could be reduced and the team signed the Concorde Agreement committing it to remain in F1 until 2012.

But this desire to bring costs down and commit to the future of the sport has not spared the team. Last month Toyota’s new CEO Akio Toyoda said the company was “grasping for salvation” – given that grim assessment, it’s hrdly surprising its F1 team has been clsoed down.

As well as the hundreds of staff at its Cologne headquarters, spare a thought for Kamui Kobayashi. Just three days ago his impressive performance at Abu Dhabi was praised by the team and he was expected to earn a place in Toyota’s 2010 line-up.

That will not happen, though it remains to be seen if anyone might step in to take the team’s place in F1. If not, it presents an opportunity for Qadbak, who bought the remains of BMW’s F1 team, to get on the grid in 2010.

But the bad news may not be over just yet – Renault are holding a board meeting today to decide on the future of its team. Having been the focus of a major scandal this year, and with no title sponsor for 2010, could it become the fourth F1 team to quit?

Images ?é?® Toyota

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185 comments on Toyota quits F1 after eight winless years

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  1. Hakki said on 5th November 2009, 3:32

    I wonder how European people felt about Japanse car maker, when they heard Toyota’s irresponsible pullout.

    Even though Toyota have signed up Concold agreement, they broke it! It’s a shame.

    It is Toyota that stared spending astronomical money for F1. Toyota’s headhunting way made driver and engineer’s salary much higher than before(Who had ever paid scuking Ralf for 10 million dollar before Toyota did!).

    Toyota is sereiously responsible for the budget problem now F1 has.

    • mp4-19b said on 5th November 2009, 9:01

      Totally agree! Toyota redefined F1 budgets. Wasted money like hell. Who can ever forget Mike “the bulldog” Gascoyne?? His Toyota deal was upwards $8 million per year!! Even Adrian Newey isn’t paid anywhere near that sum! And RALF?? Its a ROLF to be honest :P. Total waste! They deserve this.

  2. wasiF1 said on 5th November 2009, 5:27

    I fell so bad for Kobayashi.I pray he get a chance in one of the new team.So next season we are left with 3 manufacture in F1.Ferrari,Mercedes,& Mclaren.

    Max will be very happy when he see this as this is what he wanted.Toyota should have gave one more chance.

    Lets see what the Renault decides.

  3. I thought if Renault were going to jump ship, it would have been in the wake of Crashgate. Surprised that they appear to be considering doing so now, considering they had survived the fall out from Crashgate, were planning next year’s car & had signed Kubica. I wonder if the Nissan connection has anything to do with it?

    But if they were wanting to foster some sort of Japanese following or presence, what better way to do than to sign Kobayashi?

  4. theRoswellite said on 5th November 2009, 6:09

    How do you say “Thanks Toyota” in Japanese?

    • Hakki said on 5th November 2009, 6:21

      “Arigatou Toyota” It means”Thanks Toyota”in Japanese!

      …but I have nothing to Arigato Toyota.

      • mp4-19b said on 5th November 2009, 8:07

        トヨタはありがとうございました!場合は、少なくとも&最もつまらない議論はF1の歴史の中でチームになった。

        Thank you Toyota! You were the least controversial & most boring team in the history of Formula One.

        • mp4-19b said on 5th November 2009, 8:25

          This is racing & this is what happens when you have all this corporate bull s&*t! It goes to show that F1 is still an European sport. You might have all the money,resources,engineers,wind tunnels etc But without passion all of it counts to zero. Toyota never had any flavor. They raced to sell more cars, they never raced to win. All the best to USF1 & especially Malaysian “Lotus”.

          • Hakki said on 5th November 2009, 9:03

            >They raced to sell more cars
            I totally agree with that!
            Toyota is not popular among motor sports fan in Japan.

        • Hakki said on 5th November 2009, 9:06

          トヨタはありがとうございました!場合は、少なくとも&最もつまらない議論はF1の歴史の中でチームになった。

          This Japanes doen’t make sense at all.
          It’s just like my English…

  5. Hakki said on 5th November 2009, 6:43

    It doesn’t seems to be coverd in UK that Mr. Yamashina cried and said “Toyota will help Kamui(He is called more Kamui than kobayashi in Japan) and Nakajima to get F1 seats next year as much as possible.” in the press interview yesterday.

    ↓He cried in front of TV camera.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmkLji4L9To

    He feels so sorry to especially Kobayashi that Toyota can’t give him the chance next year, even though he showed his great talent in Abu-dabi.

    Kobayashi’s family business is Sushi-restaurant and before the Brazirian GP he said that he was thinking quiting race and become sushi chef, because his GP2 performance was not good and doen’t have enough money to keep driving.

    Now that there is no Toyota, how can Toyota supoort Kobayashi?
    I beleve Mr,Yamashina’s teras are not fake.
    Let’s wait and see.

    (Kobahashi’s home is not far from Suzuka, If you have a chance to visit Suzuka it would be good idea to visit his Sushi restaurant if he was going to make sushi.)

  6. antonyob said on 5th November 2009, 9:03

    Schumacher Junior was always more Rolph Harris than Bomber Harris ( apologies to non english or colonies who wont under stand this “joke”

  7. it’s too bad.
    they have a good combination at the last race.
    kamui kobayashi did well before toyota f1 resigned. :)

  8. pitt layne said on 5th November 2009, 9:56

    It’s too bad FOTA didn’t move forward with their plans for a breakaway series. Car company teams closing down, more interesting and historic venues off the calendar. Darkness is spreading. All of this could’ve been avoided. What is F1 coming to? Looks like the end to me. Honda, BMW, and now Toyota can take their marketing dollars back to the States and do IndyCar, for now. As for venues, now we’re into the State Sponsored-Tilke track era. What’s next? The Grand Prix of Egypt? And with Bridgestone leaving, another cost-cutting/ grip reducing opportunity looms on the horizon. My darkness lifts in a few hours. Good night and good luck.

  9. antonyob said on 5th November 2009, 10:55

    i refer K to Colonel Melchitt of Blackadder fame when summarising the german spies: “filthy hun weasals, fighting their dirty underhand war”

    ..and the english spies: “splendid fellows, brave heroes, risking life and limb for blighty”

    Its all a question of perspective old boy

  10. antonyob said on 5th November 2009, 16:51

    I dont think there is a problem saying the best talent and mindset for F1 teams is in the UK or England actually. Just as the best talent and mindset for mass producing cars is in Germany & Japan. Italy does style better than anyone and France arrogance (only kidding).

    Seriously though, Britian excels at small scale engineering hence why a tremendous amount of the worlds products from the industrial age and beyond originated in Britain but hardly any are still made or owned by UK companys. Not all but a disproportionate amount. The trouble Britain has is scaling up to become a world player. F1 is perfect, you build one car and its job done.

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