TOYOTA'S FUTURE IN Formula 1 appears in doubt despite claiming a landmark second place finish at the Singapore Grand Prix last weekend.
While mid-season negotiating between the Formula 1 Teams? Association and FIA resulted in a range of cost-cutting measures for 2010 and beyond, Toyota team boss Tadashi Yamashima has intimated that the reduction in expenses may not be enough.
Yamashima said the continued prohibitive cost of competing in F1 will force Toyota to reconsider its motorsport program, especially in the wake of forecasts suggesting the parent company will suffer a net loss of more than $AU5 billion for 2009.
?We need to turn it into an F1 where you don't need so much money,? Yamashima said. ?We'll have to consider various issues while bearing in mind our ties with the main company.?
The Japanese outfit is yet to finalise its budget for 2010. It has also notified drivers Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock that their services will not be required for next year.
Yamashima?s comments are a further blow to Formula 1. The pre-season withdrawal of Honda and recently announced departure of BMW would seem to justify the crusade of outgoing FIA President Max Mosley to cut costs.
Mosley has long been an opponent of the increasing infiltration of manufacturer-teams into Formula 1 in favour of the ?garagistes?, kit-car teams which produce a chassis but source an engine from external suppliers.
While Mosley has been derided within the F1 paddock as a doomsayer, the developments in recent months would appear to have given credence to the Briton?s warnings over the threat escalating costs pose t0 the future of the sport.