Toyota's Formula One team has confirmed speculation that team manager Richard Cregan is to relinquish his position at the end of November, ending a long association with the Japanese marque.
The 48-year old, who will 'move on and take an exciting new role elsewhere within motorsport' has been with Toyota Motorsport GmbH for 24 years, having started out as a humble rally mechanic.
He became operations manager for both Toyota's World Rally Championship programmes and its Le Mans 24 Hours assault and, when the F1 project was announced, assisted Ove Andersson in turning the dream into reality, becoming general manager of the grand prix operation in 2002. He before stepped up to his current role as team manager in 2004.
"We are very sad to be losing a team member of Richard's qualities, but we understand his reasons and wish him the very best of luck in his new challenge," chairman and team principal Tadashi Yamashina admitted, "He played an important part in Toyota Motorsport's history, and we salute his numerous achievements, which include providing a positive working environment at the factory and at tracks around the world, as well as implementing 'the Toyota Way' in Formula One, where we have achieved significant progress in areas such as pit-stops and car operations."
Cregan will be replaced as F1 team manager by Jens Marquardt, who has been working in the engine engineering department at Toyota Motorsport GmbH since 2000. He played a key role in developing Toyota's first F1 engines and became group leader of engine track test engineering in 2003. He was also a significant figure in the smooth start-up of Toyota's engine supply to Williams and has been managing the customer supply programme since August 2006.
"Looking to the future, I am delighted Jens will take this new opportunity, which he thoroughly deserves," Yamashina continued, "Jens has been with our company for eight years and is a valuable team member who has shown great ability and a positive attitude. He has a suitable amount of time to learn his new tasks from Richard and we are confident the transition will be a smooth one."
Further details of Cregan's new appointment are expected in the coming weeks.