It seems Honda isn’t the only Japanese automaker to leave Formula One. After eight years in the sport, Toyota announced it would officially bow out of F1 at the end of the year.
“Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) announces its plan to withdraw from the FIA Formula One World Championship at the end of the 2009 season,” read a statement from Toyota. “TMC, which had viewed its participation in F1 as contributing to the prosperity of automotive culture, remained dedicated to competing at the pinnacle of motorsports, even in the face of the abrupt economic changes that started last year.”
The 2009 season was Toyota’s eighth in F1, but despite accruing some impressive credentials, the automaker still doesn’t have a win. The Japanese auto manufacturer has scored three pole positions, three fastest laps, 13 podiums, and 278.5 points -- but never an outright win.
With its withdrawal, Toyota becomes the third major manufacturer to leave the sport in the last year. At the beginning of this year, Honda sold its Formula 1 team to Ross Brawn, who then transformed the team into the championship-winning Brawn GP. BMW also exited Formula 1 recently by selling off its stake in the BMW-Sauber team to the Qadbak investment firm. Toyota’s withdrawal also opens up a grid position, allowing the Qadbak Sauber Cosworth team, which was the reserve team, to take Toyota’s spot on the grid next season.
Source: Official Formula One Website