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Tomita to stand down at Toyota 26 Apr 2007

Tsutomu Tomita (JPN) Chairman of Toyota Racing and Toyota Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Toyota announced on Thursday that Tsutomu Tomita will leave his current position as Chairman and team principal at the end of June. He will be replaced by Tadashi Yamashina, currently Vice Chairman of Toyota Motorsport.

Tomita, who has been based at the Japanese team’s German headquarters in Cologne for four years, will return to Japan where it is understood he will assume other, as yet unconfirmed, responsibilities. It is customary for Toyota senior executives to go back to Japan after long overseas assignments.

“Since 2002 I have been involved in Toyota’s Formula One project which has been one of the most challenging and exciting periods of my career,” explained Tomita. “I would like to thank all of those involved in Toyota, Formula One, at our sponsors and of course at Toyota Motorsport who have welcomed, helped and encouraged me as I have faced this challenge. I am pleased to pass this on to Mr Yamashina whom I am sure will continue to build from the platform which has been established over the past six years.”

Tomita was a key driving force behind Toyota’s motorsport involvement, having taken charge of motorsport engines in 1987, including those which subsequently won World Rally Championships and claimed podium finishes at the Le Mans 24 Hours race. He oversaw Toyota’s entrance into single-seater racing in the United States and played a crucial role in the establishment of their Formula One team.

His replacement, Yamashina became Vice Chairman of Toyota’s motorsport wing in December 2006. He is also a managing officer of Toyota Motor Corporation, in charge of the motorsport and business management departments.

“Tomita san has been involved in a number of Toyota’s motorsport activities throughout his career including Formula One from its very beginning,” added Yamashina. “He has been one of its central pillars over the last two decades and I am both proud and pleased to succeed him. I will continue the challenge he has pursued over the past years with the same courage.”

The Japanese squad are currently fifth in the constructors’ standings, with five championship points.