Reaction to Toyota’s F1 Departure

There has been a mixed reaction in and around the F1 paddock in response to Toyota s announcement that they are leaving the sport. Ferrari have suggested that the departure of Toyota, along with BMW and Honda, is not down to the economic climate at all instead, they believe it is due to the action of the sport s bosses. Meanwhile, the FIA have said they are ‘concerned that Bridgestone and Toyota have left the sport and FOTA have said they are sorry to see Toyota leave.

An item on Ferrari s official website states that they believe the reason why three manufacturers have chosen to leave the sport in recent months boils down to the ‘war against the big car manufacturers by those who managed the sport rather than the current global economy.

“Formula 1 continues losing important parts: over the last 12 months Honda, BMW, Bridgestone and this morning Toyota announced their retirements,” the Ferrari article continues. “In exchange, if one could call it that, Manor, Lotus [because of the team of Colin Chapman, Jim Clark and Ayrton Senna, to name a few, there is hardly more than the name], USF1 and Campos Meta arrived.

“You might say ‘same-same’, because it is enough if there are participants. But that’s not entirely true and then we’ve got to see if next year we’ll be really as many in Bahrain for the first starting grid of the 2010 season and how many will make it to the end of the season.”

The FIA have said that are looking into the legal position surrounding Toyota s departure given that the team had previously stated they were committed to F1 until at least 2012 by signing the recent Concorde Agreement. Although Toyota s departure paves the way back for the former BMW Sauber team, the FIA have said they need to look at Toyota s situation before looking for a replacement team.

Urgent clarification is now being sought from the Toyota F1 team as to its legal position in relation to the championship,” the FIA statement reads. “This will have a direct bearing on the admission of any future 13th entry.

“The announcements this week by Toyota and Bridgestone of their withdrawal from Formula One are of concern to the FIA,” said the governing body.

“Bridgestone has given almost 18 months’ notice of its intentions, thereby allowing the necessary arrangements to be made for the future supply of tyres to the championship.

“Toyota’s decision, however, comes just weeks after its F1 team signed the new Concorde Agreement until 2012.”

The Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) have released a statement saying they are sorry to see Toyota leave.

“The Formula One Teams’ Association today expressed sadness at the unexpected decision by Toyota to withdraw,” the statement begins.

“All the FOTA teams send sincere messages of goodwill to all at Toyota – staff, drivers and sponsors – and thank them for the positive contribution they have made to Formula 1 in recent years.

“Regrettably, notwithstanding Toyota’s commitment to compete until 2012 deriving from the signature of the Concorde Agreement, the particular financial pressures within the car manufacturing industry – together with a period of uncertainty and unnecessary confrontation in F1 that is now finally over – created conditions which have made it difficult for Toyota to stay in the sport at this time.

“We hope very much that Toyota will return in the not too distant future, but in the meantime every effort must be made by the sport’s management to ensure that the 2010 season is as successful as we all hope.

“These efforts should include ensuring that the 2010 grid remains fully subscribed – we should remember that there are still more teams entered than in any year since 1995 – and that our sport remains a focus for technological innovation and competitive racing.

“The departure of an important car manufacturer cannot be underestimated and its reasons need to be addressed.

“FOTA also wishes to put on record its thanks to John Howett for his great passion and his fundamental contribution in his role as vice chairman of FOTA, in helping negotiate the new Concorde Agreement, securing longer term stability in F1’s rules and a more constructive, collaborative environment with all stakeholders.”