Its raining pullouts after the last round desert race at Abu Dhabi. It seems the 2009 formula one season might very well be the last season of many teams. Toyota was the latest to bite the dust and announce that they would no longer be participating in formula one from next season. The decision comes at a time when people were discussing Toyota’s long term commitment to formula one and praising it.
The FIA has asked Toyota to legally confirm its position on participating in formula one so that it can make arrangements for the 2010 season. Toyota it is believed did not give enough of notice to the FIA.
Bridgestone meanwhile has announced its departure from formula one.
The next casualty might be Renault who havent been able to rescue their team after the controversy regarding Briatore and Symonds. Even Fernando Alonso couldnt rescue the Renault F1 team. In this situation pulling out of the sport might just be the best (and only sane) option available to them.
An official statement from the Toyota team read :
TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION (TMC) announces it plans to withdraw from the FIA Formula One World Championship (F1) at the end of the 2009 season.
TMC, which had viewed its participation in F1 as contributing to the prosperity of automotive culture, remained dedicated to competing at the pinnacle of motor sports, even in the face of the abrupt economic changes that started last year. However, when considering TMC’s motor-sports activities next year and beyond from a comprehensive midterm viewpoint reflecting the current severe economic realities, TMC decided to withdraw from F1.
TMC leaves F1 having compiled 13 podium and 87 point finishes over eight challenging seasons since 2002 with Panasonic Toyota Racing, a full-constructor team. It views its time in F1 — in which teams put forth their best efforts to fiercely compete at racing’s highest level — as an irreplaceable experience that provided an opportunity to develop both human resources and its R&D operations. TMC expresses its deepest appreciation to its F1 fans and others for their warm support.
TMC also wants to express its heartfelt gratitude to all Panasonic Toyota Racing drivers to date and to all Toyota Motorsport GmbH employees who have helped make the team’s achievements possible. TMC intends to do its best to find a solution for those parties who will be affected by any inconvenience this decision may cause.
Drawing on its experience in F1 and other motor sports, TMC intends to move forward in developing exciting production vehicles, such as the Lexus “LFA” supercar and compact rear-wheel-drive sports cars. In motor sports, it will not only race in various categories, but will also actively contribute to further development of motor sports by supporting grassroots races and planning events in which it is easy for people to participate.