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Andersson to step down at Toyota 19 Dec 2003

Ove Andersson (SWE) President Panasonic Toyota Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 5 March 2003

Toyota Motorsport announced on Friday that Ove Andersson will leave his position as Formula One Team Principal at the end of the year. He will, however, be staying with the company in an advisory role, assisting his successor, Toyota Motorsport Chairman, Tsutomu Tomita.

Andersson has been a key part of Toyota's European motorsport arm for the past 30 years and has successfully guided them through their first two seasons in Formula One racing, with a total haul of 18 world championship points.

"I want to thank Toyota for having given me chances in its various motorsport activities and I am proud to continue to support the company in my new role," said Andersson.

"Thirty years ago I started with three people in Belgium. Since then I have set a lot of targets and I have achieved them together with Toyota. Together, we manufactured Toyota's first ever Formula One car. When it appeared on the grid at the Australian GP in 2002, it was an amazing feeling for me that I will never forget. I am sure Toyota will succeed in Formula One and I look forward to seeing its first victory in the future."

Tomita, meanwhile, paid tribute to Andersson, saying: "We can not thank Ove enough for his contribution to Toyota Motorsport's activities and achievements. Ove's move is along the lines of Toyota's policy which sees its employees taking up new roles at certain points in their career within the company.

"From next season I will manage both the company and the race activities together with President John Howett. With the help and advice of Ove, my mission is to make Panasonic Toyota Racing one of the top Formula One teams as soon as possible."

Tomita started his career with Toyota in 1969 as an engine development engineer. In 1996, he became a member of Toyota Board of Directors and was responsible for all international Toyota Motorsport activities. He was the driving force behind Toyota's decision to enter Formula One racing and in July 2003, he moved to Toyota Motorsport's factory in Cologne to spearhead their Formula One activities on site.