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Bitter disappointment for Toyota 19 Jun 2005

Tsutomu Tomita (JPN) Chairman of Toyota Racing and Toyota Team Principal leaves an extraordinary meeting between team owners, drivers, the FIA and circuit organisers to decide how to hold the GP.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, United States Grand Prix, Race Day, Indianapolis, USA, 19 June 2005

Japanese squad's first pole comes to nothing

There were many victims of the unprecedented circumstances surrounding the US Grand Prix - where all the teams running on Michelin tyres opted not to take the start on safety grounds - but Toyota surely deserve particular sympathy, denied a chance to race from their first Formula One pole position.

Jarno Trulli’s career has already included two previous poles and a win at Monaco, and Toyota’s first P1 grid position looked like a perfect opportunity for the Italian to build on his success.

But as it became clear that Michelin’s request for a chicane to slow the approach to turn 13, where one of its tyres had suffered a catastrophic failure, was not going to be met, few were surprised when, at the end of the parade lap, Trulli led in the long line of Michelin-shod runners to retire en masse.

"First we would like to apologise to all the race fans and sponsors watching, both here and around the world,” said Toyota team principal Tsutomu Tomita. “We are sorry to have to take this decision, particularly in the light of Jarno Trulli's pole position here yesterday. But the safety of our drivers always has to come first.

“After a detailed explanation of the tyre problems encountered this weekend we could not legitimately send our drivers out for a race distance. Therefore we did not race either car this afternoon. We look forward to returning to the track at the French Grand Prix in a fortnight."

After the United States Grand Prix, Toyota lie joint fourth with Williams in the constructors' standings on 47 points.