Though the team may have submitted its entry for the 2010 Formula 1 World Championship – in company with all of its fellow FOTA members – speculation that Toyota is soon to depart from the sport refuses to go away with the revelation that the world's largest car manufacturer has elected to withdraw Fuji Speedway from the calendar as the venue for the Japanese Grand Prix.
The circuit – set evocatively at the foothills of the iconic Mount Fuji to the west of Tokyo – returned to the top flight in 2007 after an absence of three decades and following extensive modifications on safety grounds, and is currently alternating with Suzuka as the country's grand prix host.
However, it has now been disclosed by Japanese newspaper the Asahi Shimbun
that Toyota – who own the track – have chosen to pull Fuji from the 2010 schedule, meaning the race will remain at Suzuka for the foreseeable future.
It is understood that financial considerations have played a significant part in the decision, but a Toyota spokesman told news agency AFP
that Fuji would not give up the grand prix, insisting instead that the circuit is 'making preparations to host F1 next year'.
Only a matter of months ago, Toyota announced its first net loss in 70 years as a result of the debilitating global credit crunch.