F1 News, Views and Reviews


Former Toyota F1 Team Satisfied With Life Outside The Sport

The team behind the former Toyota F1 Team – Toyota Motorsport GmbH have said they are verys atisfied with life outside of Formula One, and are happy with the way new projects are progressing.

The German base of the team was no shut down when the team left the sport at the end of last season, and was instead turned into a manufacturing group for advanced motorsport projects.  Thus far they have worked with Pirelli on the new tyre for F1, providing an F1 car based on their TF109 chassis, along with other projects including electric racing cars.

“This has been a breakthrough year for us,” said Jens Marquardt, TMG’s general manager business development in the company’s annual review.

“We faced many challenges in November 2009 when our F1 participation ended but we met them with courage and optimism. Now our hard work is delivering results, so we can look back with satisfaction on the last 12 months.”



Toyota Claim F1 Is Too Elitist

Former Toyota F1 Team principal Tadashi Yamashina has claimed that Formula One has become far too elitist for its own good.

The man formerly charged with leading Toyota’s bid in F1, says that the sport did not allow the fans to get close enough to it for it to be a viable advertising option for a manufacturer.  He cited this as one of the many reasons why the Japanese manufacturer, who have recently had serious struggles with their road cars, to be one of the reasons why Toyota pulled out of F1 at the end of last season.

“There is a big gap between Formula 1 and Toyota’s actual car users,” Yamashina told Automotive News. “F1 remains the pinnacle of auto racing, but its image grew too elitist.

“At races such as Nurburgring [24 Hours], fans can get right into [the] pitlane, mingle with the teams and touch the cars. They can soak up the atmosphere and feel part of the event. By contrast, average fans have no hope of strolling the paddock at an F1 race. For the fortunate few who can afford to do that, it’s fine.

“I think the best kind of races are those in which people can get in close to the race.”

Toyota officials will be at a round of the WTCC to continue rumours that they will be entering some form of touring car championship soon.   DTM is also set to be courted as Lexus may enter in 2011 under the new Super GT rules which the series is likely to follow.  Former F1 team BMW have confirmed they will be competing in the German race series also.

Stefan GP NOT Given Entry As Official 2010 Entry List Announced

Stefan GP have not been granted an entry into the 2010 Formula One season, and will not be allowed to compete unitl potentially 2011 as the FIA consider opening up entries fo the next season of racing to newcomers.

Stefan have already got a car and sent equipment to Bahrain, and despite USF1 not competing this season the Serbian outfit cannot take their place.

“Having considered the various options, the FIA confirms that it is not possible for a replacement team to be entered for the Championship at this late stage,” the FIA said.

“In the coming days the FIA will announce details of a new selection process to identify candidates to fill any vacancies existing at the start of the 2011 season.”

USF1 are listed as deferring their entry until 2011 on the list, and Sauber retain the BMW moniker at the start of the name while Campos become HRT as mentioned yesterday.

Official 2010 Entry List



5  Sebastian VETTEL (D)     RED BULL RACING (AUT)



11 Robert KUBICA (POL)        RENAULT F1 TEAM (FRA)
12 Vitaly PETROV (RUS)        RENAULT F1 TEAM (FRA)

14 Adrian SUTIL (D)           FORCE INDIA F1 TEAM (IND)
15 Vitantonio LIUZZI (I)      FORCE INDIA F1 TEAM (IND)

16 Sébastien BUEMI (CH)       SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO (I)

18 Jarno TRULLI (I)           LOTUS RACING (MAL)

20 TBA                        HRT F1 TEAM (ESP)
21 Bruno SENNA (BRA)          HRT F1 TEAM (ESP)


24 Timo GLOCK (D)           VIRGIN RACING (GB)

Teams are up, no Stefan though...

Jerez Testing Round 2 Day 1: Vettel Quickest

Sebastian Vettel made the most of the poor conditions, slotting the new Red Bull Rb6 onto the top of the timesheets on the second part of the Jerez test, day 1.

The Red Bull Racing favourite slipped ahead of Lewis Hamilton in 2nd, and Felipe Massa in 3rd both drivers making good times given the conditions.

Pedro de La Rosa was 5th, lamenting the conditions but still ended ahead of Michael Schumacher.  Paul di Resta got his first taste of testing, gaining 8th place in the Force India as he shared the cockpit with Adrian Sutil.

Lotus made their debut with the T127 and Malaysian driver Fairuz Fauzy getting behind the wheel with a solid day of testing, and Lotus declaring themselves pleased.  Virgin looked to be struggling a little still, not finding their feet as quickly as Lotus.

Pos  Driver        Team                       Time     Laps
 1.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault     (B)  1:22.593   99
 2.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes     (B)  1:23.017   72
 3.  Massa         Ferrari              (B)  1:23.204   72
 4.  Buemi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari   (B)  1:23.322   79
 5.  de la Rosa    BMW-Sauber           (B)  1:23.367   76
 6.  M.Schumacher  Mercedes GP          (B)  1:23.803  111
 7.  Sutil         Force India-Mercedes (B)  1:24.272   28
 8.  di Resta      Force India-Mercedes (B)  1:25.088   74
 9.  Petrov        Renault              (B)  1:26.237   55
10.  Barrichello   Williams-Cosworth    (B)  1:27.320  109
11.  Fauzy         Lotus-Cosworth       (B)  1:31.848   76
12.  Glock         Virgin-Cosworth      (B)  1:32.417   10


Jerez Test Day 3: Washout Continues But Alguersuari Fastest

The third day of the second test at Jerez was another washout, with Jaime Alguersuari coming out fastest after a scorching lap early on in the day in the cooler damp conditions.

Many of the drivers elected to do long runs on extreme wet tyres, with Rubens Barrichello clocking a massive 120 laps today.

Ferrari’s Felipe Massa did some long runs, as did Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton who was low down the times.

Lucas di Grassi got his first taste of the Virgin, which kept its wing on today, and also kept itself stuck to the bottom of the timesheets.

Pos  Driver        Team                       Time     Laps
 1.  Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  1:19.919   76
 2.  de la Rosa    BMW-Sauber            (B)  1:20.736   58
 3.  Sutil         Force India-Mercedes  (B)  1:21.428   48
 4.  Massa         Ferrari               (B)  1:21.603   72
 5.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault      (B)  1:21.783   59
 6.  Petrov        Renault               (B)  1:22.000   68
 7.  Rosberg       Mercedes GP           (B)  1:22.820   53
 8.  Barrichello   Williams-Cosworth     (B)  1:23.217  120
 9.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  1:23.985   68
10.  di Grassi     Virgin-Cosworth       (B)  1:37.107    8


Toyota Cut 500 Jobs In Cologne

Toyota have cut 500 jobs at their Cologne racing headquaters.

The factory in Germany was used mainly as their Formula One headquaters, and now the team have pulled out of F1 job cuts were expected.

Andy Fuchs of Toyota told DPA last night that the staff had to go but 150 would be kept on for sports tuning and non F1 projects.  The staff laid off will be paid some salary and given a good redundancy package.

Toyota announced they would not be selling their F1 programme as a package earlier this week, allowing Sauber to take the final available grid slot.

Toyota Not Selling F1 Entry, Paving Way For Sauber’s Return

The Toyota F1 Team are NOT selling their F1 entry, claiming they have already given it back to the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone.

This news will come as a crushing blow for Stefan GP who were hopng to purchase the former team based in Cologne. However it will be a champagne moment for Peter Sauber, whose team look to be set on the path back to Formula One.

A Toyota source said they are also working on a reduced penalty fine for leaving F1 having signed up to the 2012 Concorde Agreement with Bernie Ecclestone.

The source said: “We have returned our entry to the FIA and have no intention or wish to influence or interfere in the allocation process. That is a matter for the Federation.

“We are discussing a settlement with Bernie on the basis of goodwill and what is acceptable to all parties.”

They are going to sell their initial 2010 car model however, and there has been some interest – Stefan Gp’s name was banded around, although without a grid slot the reasoning behind their purchase would be confusing.  Allegedly, the source says, Kamui Kobayashi is being offered as part of the deal!

Toyota’s F1 History In Photos

On the day Toyota bowed out of Formula One, we take a look back at some of their high and low points in photos to remember the great Japanese manufacturers time at the pinnacle of motorsport.

Toyota spent 2001 testing around the world

Then the real launch came in 2002, with much promise and funding

Things looked good too, as Mika Salo scored the team's first point in their maiden GP

But things went downhill from there, and 2002 was summed up by Allan McNish's 200mph horror crash at Suzuka

Things looked up for 2003 with Olivier Panis getting 4th place in Qualifying early in the season

Cristiano da Matta went on better and led for a part of the 2003 British Grand Prix

However their luck slumped again in 2004, with both drivers being disqualified at the Canadian Grand Prix

Before Da Matta left and was replaced by Ricardo Zonta

2005 saw Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli put the team to their best ever finish

Trulli got their first podium, a 2nd place at the 2005 Malaysian Grand Prix

However 2006/7 were poor seasons, leading to expensive Ralf Schumacher being dropped at the end of the season

For 2008 promising star Timo Glock was brought in, and is the team's most successful driver by points with an average of just under 2 per race

For 2009 the car was quick, but they were embroiled in the "illegal" diffuser row

Good results were few and far between, and Glock's season ended with a massive shunt in Japan

Before Kamui Kobayashi, the promising youngster, delivered Toyota's final points in their final race at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Official: Toyota Pull Out Of F1

The news I broke yesterday on the blog has turned out to be true, the Toyota F1 Team are pulling out of the sport and will not be present on the grid at the first race of the season in 2010.

There had been rumours of a move out of F1, when the company saw its first ever loss in profits.  Also signs when Fuji Speedway, their circuit, was dropped from the calendar.  Although signing up to the concorde agreement stating they would be present until 2012, no-one really thought it would be true, and the team would be pulling out at the end of 2010 after operating the season with a reduced budget.

Where the team goes from here is unknown, it could turn into a satellite operation, an independent team via management buy out, or even possibly become the new Sauber team.

The long official statement from Toyota’s Chief Executive’s read:

“Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) announces it plans to withdraw from the FIA Formula 1 world championship 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 motorsports actitives next year and beyond from a comprehensive mid-term viewpoint reflecting the current severe economic realities, TMC decided to withdraw from F1”

“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,” said the statement.

“TMC intends to do its best to find a solution for those parties who will be affected by any inconvenience this decision may cause.”

“In motorsports, [Toyota] will not only race in various categories, but will also actively contribute to further development of motorsports by supporting grassroots races and planning events in which it is easy for people to participate.”

Toyota Team Profile

Debut Race 2002 Australian Grand Prix
Final Race 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Races Completed 139
Championships 0
Race Wins 0
Pole Positions 3
Notable Drivers Ralf Schumacher, Jarno Trulli, Mika Salo, Olivier Panis, Cristiano Da Matta


Season Points
2002 2
2003 16
2004 9
2005 88
2006 35
2007 13
2008 56
2009 54.5


BREAKING NEWS: Toyota Leave F1?

Breaking News:  Reports on a Japanese newspaper’s website says that the Toyota Formula One team are pulling out of the sport with immediate effect.

The downbeat report by The Mancini Newspaper states that Japan is now without a Formula One Team, hanks to the recession and the millions of dollars to which it takes to run a team.  The decision seems to have come from the board of directors, as opposed to John Howett the team boss.

An article in Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport released today said that there would be a new announcement on November 8, but if this new article is to be believed then that decision has already been taken.

However there is a glimmer of hope, the article states they may try and run 2010 as a satellite style operation, similar to the Hayate rnu Kawasaki in MotoGP, where the funds and development are limited but staff and technical help is still available.

If not, the place is likely to be awarded to the Sauber team.  For Kobayashi, possibly the most promising newcomer to F1, he could try and join a new team but if unsuccessful the Japanese was worried he would have to abandon racing and go back to working in his father’s Sushi bar!