The chances of the Toyota Formula One team having an all-new line-up in 2010 took another step closer to fruition when Timo Glock admitted that he expected to be shown the exit door over the winter.
With veteran team-mate Jarno Trulli already hotly-tipped to be leaving the Cologne-based squad - most probably ending up at the reborn Lotus F1 operation - and GP2 Series midfielder Kamui Kobayashi about to start his second race weekend as replacement for the supposedly injured Glock, Toyota looks poised for a fresh start to its F1 involvement next season, although there has been no official comment from the team's hierarchy.
While president John Howett made no secret that he would have liked to have enticed BMW Sauber refugee Robert Kubica to Toyota - only to see the Pole opt for beleaguered Renault - and has made a play for Kimi Raikkonen - only for the Finn to dismiss speculation that they had talked read story here
- it could be that Kobayashi lines up with a hitherto unexpected team-mate in 2010.
Glock sat out both the Japanese and Brazilian rounds after injuring himself in qualifying at Suzuka, but insists that he feels no pain from what has been reported by Toyota as a fractured vertebrae and could have returned this weekend. With Toyota development scheme protégé Kobayashi retained for the inaugural Abu Dhabi race, the German has now confirmed to the Associated Press
that he expects to be looking for a new employer next year, despite having had an option to remain in situ
for another season.
Toyota declined to seek his signature on the extension while it chased higher profile names, however, claiming that it did not want to prevent Glock from moving elsewhere. Ironically, the German is also being linked to Renault for 2010.
"Toyota can't make a decision before 15 November, so that is the main reason why it doesn't look like I can drive for Toyota again," the German was quoted as saying by The Canandian Press
, "There are various teams I have good contacts through, and where we are in a good position for next year."
Trulli, meanwhile, has again refused to comment publicly on his situation, despite most F1 observers expecting him to leave after this weekend's final round.
"Obviously, there is a high chance to be leaving Toyota, but it difficult to say and talk about," he told journalists at Yas Marina, "A lot is up in the air, and I prefer not to make any speculation, but obviously I have got some options. Other than that, I have nothing to say or add at the moment."