Toyota TF109 – Click above for high-res image gallery
The Hispania Racing Team has had a rough start this year in F1. The upstart squad has retired seven times in as many races, failing to score a single championship point so far. Which is still better than Virgin has fared so far – and surprisingly Sauber too – but that's no way to enter the field. Now the outfit formerly known as Campos Meta 1 has split with its chassis supplier, with reports indicating it's already looking into another for next season... if not for the remainder of t
Stefan GP brokers a deal with Toyota Racing – Click above for high-res image gallery
Reports of Toyota F1's demise may prove to have been exaggerated as the latest rumors from the racing world suggest that the Japanese automaker is in discussions with a Serbian outfit about taking over the Cologne-based racing team.
Toyota only made the decision to abandon its Formula One program a few weeks ago, but the lead time for developing a new car is a much longer than that. The engineering team at Toyota's Cologne F1 headquarters had been working on the 2010 car for most of 2009, and the actual design is already complete and ready for construction.
The buck's got to stop somewhere. Toyota has been pouring in hundreds of millions of dollars into its Formula One racing program for seven years now and has little to show for it. Now after both Honda and BMW have mothballed their F1 teams, Toyota has confirmed longstanding speculation by doing the same.
According to the Japanese Mainichi newspaper, Toyota is poised to withdraw from Formula One competition and will not take part in the 2010 season. Though no source is given for the news, so far Toyota is neither confirming nor denying the report.
As the Formula One championship winds to a close, the series is on track for a big change-up in drivers. But not before one last in-season switch. Earlier this season, Toro Rosso replaced Sebastien Bourdais with Jaime Alguersuai. Ferrari called up Luca Badoer to fill in for an injured Felipe Massa when Michael Schumacher wasn't up to the task, and subsequently replaced Badoer with Giancarlo Fisichella, leaving Force India to promote Tonio Liuzzi to Fisico's seat. And of course Renault fired Nels
Toyota's Timo Glock at the 2008 Japanese Grand Prix at the Fuji Speedway
Here's a little problem to solve: Although budgets are shrinking, it still costs million to run a Formula One team. On the other hand, the teams go through spare parts like a rib joint does napkins. Meanwhile, collectors and enthusiasts have proven willing to shell out big bucks for authentic memorabilia. Found the magic solution yet? Several F1 teams have, opting to sell off parts of last year's cars for big bucks. And the latest to join the fold is Toyota.
After the FIA's rule change to allow a two-tier budgetary and technical regulation system in F1 next year, Toyota is the first team to come out and say it might not contest the 2010 season. After publishing next year's regulations, the FIA made May 29 the final day for teams to declare their intention to race next year and pay the entry fee. Toyota F1 team president John Howett, who is also vice-president of the F1 Teams Alliance (FOTA), said that unless a new situation is agreed to he can't see
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Last weekend's Australian Grand Prix, the season opener to the 2009 Formula One season, may have ushered in a new era in on-track competition, but the off-track politics are already back up to full swing.
Toyota has reiterated its commitment to F1, in spite of its first annual operating loss since 1938. Said Toyota CEO Katsuake Watanabe of Toyota's F1 budget, still the largest in F1 at $445 million, "To keep it up at the current level is extremely difficult." Yet even with the loss, the global economic mess, the belt-tightening on the corporate side, and the fact that Toyota hasn't won a race in seven years, a Toyota spokesperson said, "We don't have anything to add to the statement we made on 5
Toyota may have lead the way to mass-market hybrid vehicles with its Prius, but that institutional knowledge is apparently not helping it on the Formula One circuit. While Toyota reportedly spends more money on its F1 program than any other team (and perhaps several small countries) it has yet to win a race after 6 years of trying and now they seem to be behind in developing a hybrid system for the racers. Starting in 2009, F1 teams will be able to use a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) to