Toyota has revealed that it is to make as many as 150 redundancies within its Formula 1 team between now and the end of the year, as the global credit crunch continues to be felt in full force at the heart of the world's most glamorous and expensive sport.
Though the parent company's headquarters are in Japan, Toyota F1 has always been based in Cologne since its foundation back at the turn of the Millennium, and the outfit's motorsport president, John Howett, has confirmed that as the top flight increasingly tightens its belt and strives to cut costs, job losses will be the inevitable outcome.
“I estimate that by the end of the year we will have around 100 to 150 fewer workers compared to the beginning of the year,” the Englishman is quoted as having said by German newspaper Express
The automotive industry has been particularly badly hit by the international economic downturn, with Toyota – the world's largest car maker – sounding serious alarm bells back in December when it warned that it expected to make its first annual loss in more than seven decades.
Despite substantial investment since making its F1 bow back in 2002, the manufacturer has yet to break its grand prix duck, with ten rostrum finishes from 125 starts – but no win. The squad currently sits third in the 2009 constructors' world championship, with both Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock having ascended the rostrum over the course of the opening three races of the campaign – but Howett has warned that if the top step has still not been achieved come season's end, Toyota may be out of the door.