FIA seeks Toyota answers

Governing body wants clarification after abrupt announcement

Last updated: 4th November 2009   Subscribe to RSS Feed

FIA seeks Toyota answers

Withdrawal: Toyota

Urgent clarification is now being sought from the Toyota F1 team as to its legal position in relation to the championship. This will have a direct bearing on the admission of any future 13th entry.

FIA statement
Quotes of the week

Also see

The FIA has said it is seeking legal clarification from Toyota regarding its abrupt withdrawal from the Formula One World Championship.

The Japanese manufacturer's decision came only days after the end of the 2009 season but also just weeks after it had signed the Concorde Agreement, committing itself to F1 until the end of 2012.

Although rumours have persisted about Toyota's future ever since Honda withdrew 11 months ago, it had always signalled its intent to continue prior to Wednesday's announcement.

The decision to make an immediate and complete withdrawal from the sport comes just two days after Bridgestone also announced it was pulling out.

However, the Japanese tyre supplier is at least honouring its current contract which expires at the end of 2010.

With Toyota citing financial pressures as the primary reason for its departure, world motorsport's governing body also emphasised its own ongoing commitment to cutting costs.

Former FIA president Max Mosley initially tried to impose a voluntary 40 million budget cap, yet that was vehemently opposed and almost led to a breakaway series.

Instead the teams agreed to reduce spending "back to early 1990s levels within two years" following a breakthrough meeting with Mosley at the end of June.

Confusion

The FIA also said the confusion surrounding Toyota's decision does not necessarily clear the way for the Sauber team to immediately take its place on the 2010 grid.

Sauber secured new backing from Qadback following the announcement of BMW's withdrawal during the summer but as yet only has a reserve place for next season.

The FIA statement read: "Toyota's decision...comes just weeks after its F1 team signed the new Concorde Agreement until 2012.

"Urgent clarification is now being sought from the Toyota F1 team as to its legal position in relation to the championship. This will have a direct bearing on the admission of any future 13th entry.

"The FIA has repeatedly warned that motor sport cannot outpace the world economic crisis.

"That is why the competing teams have been asked to cut costs and the entry of independent teams has been encouraged.

"The FIA accepted the cost-reduction measures put forward by the teams on the basis they would ensure a long-term commitment to the championship.

"Toyota's announcement demonstrates the importance of the original cost-reduction measures set out by the FIA.

"The FIA will now work to ensure Toyota's departure is managed in the best interests of the championship and will continue to encourage the F1 teams to undertake the necessary cost-cutting measures for the good of the sport."

Leading light

Ironically, in light of its main reason for walking away, Toyota was a leading light in FOTA's resistance to the FIA's budget cap plans

Yet in their own statement on Wednesday, the teams suggested "a period of uncertainty and unnecessary confrontation in F1 that is now finally over" might also have been a contributory factor.

They also expressed a desire that Toyota's departure will be the last for the foreseeable future and that incoming teams US F1, Campos, Manor and Lotus will all make the grid.

"Every effort must be made by the sport's management to ensure the 2010 season is as successful as we all hope," the statement read.

"These efforts should include ensuring the 2010 grid remains fully subscribed - we should remember there are still more teams entered than in any year since 1995 - and that our sport remains a focus for technological innovation and competitive racing.

"The departure of an important car manufacturer cannot be underestimated, and its reasons need to be addressed."

Formula 1 2010 Season. Click here to bet.