F1 »

Howett: Toyota will quit F1 if cost cap goes ahead

Toyota is prepared to walk away from Formula 1 if the FIA pursues its controversial budget cap initiative from 2010 onwards, claiming that a two-tier system 'is not the right direction' for the sport to be taking, makes no 'common sense' and 'would make a huge number of people redundant'.

The proposal – which was formally ratified by the governing body's World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) in Paris a week-and-a-half ago – has been conceived in an effort to entice new entrants into the top flight and ensure that no more teams follow Honda's lead in pulling out as the global credit crunch takes its toll. The premise is that those competitors wishing to adhere to the optional £40 million cap will benefit from greater technical freedoms and unrestricted out-of-season testing, which will be unavailable to their unlimited-budget rivals.

Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo has angrily branded the plans 'fundamentally unfair and perhaps even biased', with BMW Motorsport Director Dr Mario Theissen agreeing that 'a two-class Formula 1 is not attractive to BMW', since 'in one go you cannot just evaporate by a factor of three'.

Brawn GP team principal Ross Brawn and Williams director of engineering Patrick Head have also both expressed their fears that a two-tier system would be confusing and difficult to police, and would effectively create a situation of haves and have-nots – but Toyota has become the first team to categorically threaten to quit over the move.

The FIA has stipulated that all entries for the 2010 campaign must be lodged by 29 May, but it has already been suggested that the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) – which has demanded 'urgent' talks with Max Mosley on the matter, and of which Toyota Motorsport President John Howett is vice-chairman – is intending to boycott that. The Englishman's comments in Barcelona this weekend will only serve to add fuel to the fire.

“If nothing changes, we won't be submitting an entry,” he is quoted as having said by international news agency Reuters, “but I don't think that is a unique opinion among other competitors. I think it's very clear that with a double-tier championship, you have to go for the £40 million cap because the [capped] cars will be quicker.

“As a corporation it's not only budget, it's about the value of Formula 1 – and we think the double-tier series is not the right direction. The regulations were announced, but if you read the regulations there is a proper process that should be followed – and our understanding is that that hasn't been done. There are a number of issues that need to be clarified before we can enter.”

Like many of his counterparts in other teams, Howett stressed that the retention of a level playing field is the primary concern, but there is also the issue of staffing numbers and infrastructure – with many of the leading outfits currently employing in excess of 600 people and boasting annual budgets in the region of £100 million to £200 million.

He went on to point to the significant steps made by FOTA in recent months regarding cost-cutting in what is the world's most expensive sport – and conceded that his faith in the amount of 'common sense' employed by F1's rule-makers is dwindling by the minute.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
John Howett (GBR), President Of Toyota Motorsport, Turkish F1, Istanbul Park, 9th-11th May, 2008
Williams pays tribute to the victims of the Manchester attack
Williams pays tribute to the victims of the Manchester attack
Nicky Hayden - A tribute
25.05.2017 - Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB13
25.05.2017 - Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas F1 Team VF-17
25.05.2017 - Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Haas F1 Team VF-17
25.05.2017 - Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Haas F1 Team VF-17
25.05.2017 - Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM010
25.05.2017 - Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas F1 Team VF-17
25.05.2017 - Carlos Ghosn (BRA) Chairman of Renault
25.05.2017 - Carlos Sainz (ESP) WRC Champion former
25.05.2017 - Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
25.05.2017 - Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Renault Sport F1 Team RS17
25.05.2017 - Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
25.05.2017 - Mattia Binotto (ITA) Chief Technical Officer, Scuderia Ferrari and Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director
25.05.2017 - Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW40
25.05.2017 - Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

Donkey - Unregistered

May 10, 2009 10:39 AM

F1 is in deep trouble yet again 2010 no Toyota, BMW, or Ferrari big game of brinkmanship being played Max and Bernie need to watch out or the house of cards will come tumbling down maybe its what F1 needs to finally get its house in order.

Bruce - Unregistered

May 10, 2009 11:23 AM

Go Max. Go Bernie. Just one more step in the direction of stupidity, self service and corruption and maybe we will finally see the teams walk away and start their own series. It should have happened years ago.

© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.