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Toyota Pulls Out of Formula 1

Toyota-F1So, Toyota has finally withdrawn from Formula 1, after eight seasons in which its best result was fourth in the constructors’ championship along with a number of second-place finishes in individual grands prix. No doubt Toyota’s first operating loss as a company played a role in the decision, although the Japanese automaker had recently committed to the F1 championship through 2012 and just announced a modest profit for the most recent financial quarter. One assumes that cutting the $400 million or so that the F1 program reputedly cost will further help future profitability.

I always had my doubts about the company’s seriousness over its F1 program. It spent lots of money pursuing F1 success, reputedly with the biggest budget in the sport, but it went about the program in an almost perverse manner. Except for Toro Rosso and Ferrari, F1 teams have traditionally been set up in the U.K., where there’s a thriving industrial base for the high-tech, relatively low-volume machining and fabrication that’s needed to sustain the intense pace of racing development. (The only other places in the world that have the same infrastructure are northern Italy, where Dallara, Ferrari, and Toro Rosso are based; and in the Charlotte, L.A., and Indianapolis areas in the U.S., where NASCAR and IRL teams and engine shops are located.) So what did Toyota do? It set up shop in Cologne, Germany, where there is no race-car infrastructure to speak of.

Then, it managed to hire drivers who have never been true number ones. Early on, Toyota used Allan McNish and Mika Salo, which was a smart move when it was starting out and expectations were low. Then came Cristiano da Matta and Olivier Panis, who were both solid drivers, but not world champs in the making. Nor were Ralf Schumacher - wags at the time wondered if Toyota had got confused and thought they were hiring his older and vastly more talented brother - or Jarno Trulli. The management has always made noises about hiring the most talented people, but couldn’t retain the services of notoriously fiery yet supremely capable tech director Mike Gascoyne, who, one suspects, didn’t fit in with the low-key Japanese way of doing things.

It’s interesting to see that, after courting manufacturer teams, the FIA has been left high and dry by all except Ferrari, Mercedes, and Renault. BMW, Honda, and Toyota have all quit in the past 12 months, and their places will be taken by the sort of relatively small-scale operations that dominated F1 in the 1970s. Which is probably what F1 ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone, once the owner of Brabham, is most comfortable with.

Related posts:

  1. Audi Pulls out of American Le Mans Series for 2009 – car News
  2. Lotus Returns to Formula 1 for 2010
  3. BMW Has Agreement to Sell Its Formula 1 Team, New Owners Hopeful of Inclusion for 2010
  4. BMW Quits Formula 1
  5. Honda Withdraws from Formula 1 – car News

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Toyota Pulls Out of Formula 1
Toyota Pulls Out of Formula 1

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Toyota Automobile Motor Insurance

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