Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Toyota withdraws from Formula One



Toyota Motor withdrew from Formula One on Wednesday, leaving Japan without a team in motorsport's premier series.

Company president Akio Toyoda apologised for the team's failure to record a single race victory since joining F1 in 2002 despite an estimated annual budget of around $300 million.

"This was a difficult but ultimately unavoidable decision," he told a news conference in Tokyo. "Since last year with the worsening economic climate, we have been struggling with the question of whether to continue in F1.

"We are pulling out of Formula One completely. I offer my deepest apologies to Toyota's many fans for not being able to achieve the results we had targeted."

The decision by the world's largest carmaker to pull out of Formula One comes as the auto industry starts to stabilise following a sales crunch in the wake of the financial crisis.

Cologne-based Toyota's departure as a team and engine supplier deals another major blow to the sport after Japan's number two carmaker Honda quit the series last December.

It leaves Japan without a team in F1 and continues the drain of Japanese companies from motorsport, which has seen Subaru and Suzuki withdraw from the world rallying championship.

source: rediff