Will Toyota pull out in October?

August 24, 2009

CIMG0077In previous posts I have flagged up that there may be two further withdrawals from the manufacturers currently involved in F1. These are Toyota and Renault. I do not include Mercedes Benz and Ferrari because they are in different positions, with Mercedes being a 40% shareholder in McLaren Group (although they fully own the engine operation in Brixworth), and Ferrari having F1 so interwoven with their DNA as to make a pull out very unlikely.

A report in Autosport suggests that Toyota’s 2010 budget has yet to be agreed, with Team Principal John Howett stating that Toyota Group want to wait until their half year position is clear before committing to the 2010 budget. With Toyota’s financial year running from April to March, this means that it will not be until October or November 2009 that the position will become clear, given this a potential pull-out must still be on the cards.

This is supported by some recent announcements related to Toyota suggesting that either they are renegotiating a number of contracts to try and improve their financial position or they are planning to pull out at the end of the year (or perhaps both!). First we hear that Jarno Trulli has been unable to finalise a two year deal with the Cologne based team. Second Williams have taken the unusual step to publically announce that they are seeking an early end to their contract for the supply of Toyota engines (which was due to expire at the end of 2010), the current engines have been serving Williams well and therefore they are moving either because they are being asked to provide significantly more money to cover the cost of the engines, or they are anticipating a Toyota withdrawal and don’t want to be left without a competitive engine for 2010.

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