F1 »

Toyota to stay, Mercedes dismisses quit rumours

It has long been reckoned within the F1 paddock, that of the manufacturers involved, Toyota is arguably the most in danger of following fellow Japanese marque Honda out of the exit door. According to recent speculation, however, that may no longer be the case.

Toyota's slump in car sales as a result of the global credit crunch – the first time the firm has made an annual net loss in almost six decades – has been the catalyst for a rigorous cost-cutting process, and many assumed that one of the first casualties would be the company's underperforming F1 team, which has yet to win a grand prix after 133 starts since 2002 despite benefitting from one of if not the biggest budget in the sport.

In 2007 then team principal Tadashi Yamashina revealed that he had been given two years to turn the Cologne-based concern's fortunes around, whilst at the beginning of the present campaign Toyota Motorsport President John Howett admitted that 'if we have a weak season we have no future', re-igniting rumours that 2009 would be the team's final year.

Despite a strong start to proceedings – with podium finishes for Jarno Trulli in Australia and Bahrain and Timo Glock in Malaysia, and a front row lock-out for the Italian-German pairing in Sakhir – progress has faltered of late, with still no sign of that breakthrough grand prix triumph, third place having become fourth in the constructors' title standings and McLaren-Mercedes and customer Toyota-powered outfit Williams catching up fast.

According to grandprix.com, however, Toyota's continuing presence in the top flight could have been saved by two developments. One is F1's cost-cutting drive – in which the Aichi and Tokyo-based manufacturer has been very much at the forefront – and the other is the arrival of new Toyota boss Akio Toyoda, a motorsport fan and former part-time racer whose goal is to create a more exciting range of road cars to include an affordable, rear wheel-drive sportscar. The project could involve co-operation with Subaru and the car is expected to go into production in two years' time – and the cross-over in company image from staid to sporty could just be the key element in preserving Toyota's ongoing F1 presence.

Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz has been quick to rubbish rumours elsewhere in the paddock that the Stuttgart marque – which currently supplies three teams with engines in the form of long-time partner McLaren, world championship leaders Brawn GP and Force India, and is understood to be in negotiations with the in-form Red Bull Racing about a fourth potential deal in 2010 – is set to follow fellow German manufacturer BMW's lead in walking away from F1. A spokesman assured Crash.net that BMW's decision will have no impact upon Mercedes' ongoing commitment to the sport.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
16.07.2006 Magny Cours, France,  Kimi Raikkonen (FIN), Räikkönen, McLaren Mercedes, MP4-21 and Jarno Trulli (ITA), Toyota Racing, TF106 - Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 11, French Grand Prix, Sunday Race
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren Test and Reserve Driver.
26.11.2014.
The McLaren MP4-29H of Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren Test and Reserve Driver is recovered back to the pits on the back of a truck.
26.11.2014.
The McLaren MP4-29H of Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren Test and Reserve Driver is recovered back to the pits on the back of a truck.
26.11.2014.
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 Reserve Driver.
26.11.2014.
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 Reserve Driver.
26.11.2014.
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MP4-29H Test and Reserve Driver.
26.11.2014.
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren Test and Reserve Driver.
26.11.2014.
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MP4-29H Test and Reserve Driver.
26.11.2014.
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MP4-29H Test and Reserve Driver.
26.11.2014.
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MP4-29H Test and Reserve Driver.
26.11.2014.
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MP4-29H Test and Reserve Driver.
26.11.2014.
Spike Goddard (AUS) Sahara Force India F1 VJM07 Test Driver.
26.11.2014.
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 Reserve Driver.
26.11.2014.
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 Reserve Driver.
26.11.2014.
Spike Goddard (AUS) Sahara Force India F1 VJM07 Test Driver tests the Info Wing.
26.11.2014.
Spike Goddard (AUS) Sahara Force India F1 VJM07 Test Driver.
26.11.2014. F
Spike Goddard (AUS) Sahara Force India F1 Team Test Driver (Right).
26.11.2014.

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.


JohnsonsEvilTwin

August 13, 2009 12:51 PM
Last Edited 1932 days ago

Shut it SBB Mercedes brings prestige and history with racing. When Cosworth were just twinkles in their forbearers ancestor's eyes Mercedes were busy winning trophies. People also watch the sport to see their favourite marque too......

Sasha

August 13, 2009 1:34 PM

With the engine freeze I can see Mercedes stay as supplier, but not as a team owner. There is no technological advantage to be in F1. They are better off focusing on sportscars.



© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

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