Toyota bid farewell to team boss Cregan 02 Nov 2008
The Toyota Formula One team paid tribute to team manager Richard Cregan at Interlagos on Sunday, on the occasion of his final Grand Prix wearing the Toyota uniform. The Irishman, 47, will leave Toyota at the end of this month to become team manager of Abu Dhabi Motorsport Management, spearheading preparations for the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2009.
All Toyota race team members joined together to pay tribute to Cregan in the Interlagos pit lane as Chairman and team principal Tadashi Yamashina presented him with a personalized Panasonic Toyota Racing race overall, produced by Alpinestars, before a group photo.
Cregan said: "This has been a weekend of very mixed emotions because on the one hand I am excited by the future but on the other I am sad to be leaving my friends at Toyota.
"I have had a fantastic time with this team; we have had highs and lows but we have stuck together throughout and I am very proud of what has been achieved. Even though I will not be with Toyota after November, I will always be a team member in my heart.
"I was in Melbourne for Toyota's first Grand Prix, which was a very special event for us and to score a point, after so much hard work just to get there, was fantastic. The 2005 season was my most memorable because we were very successful but this year it was a good feeling to be back on the podium; that is where this team belongs.
"This is a great team of people and I believe there is no better in the pit lane. I know the results will come and I could wish for nothing better than a Toyota victory in the first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. That would be a dream come true."
As general manager of general affairs and then team manager, Cregan has competed with the team at 120 Grands Prix and in his seven seasons of Formula One competition, Toyota have scored 215 points, finishing on the podium eight times.
Chairman and team principal Tadashi Yamashina said: "We are very sad that Richard is leaving the team but we understand his reasons and we wish him the very best of luck in Abu Dhabi; I am sure he will make the first Grand Prix there a truly memorable event.
"He can be very proud of his numerous achievements at Toyota, which include providing a positive working environment at the factory and at the track as well as implementing the Toyota Way in Formula One, where we have achieved significant progress in areas such as pit stops and car operations.
"I look forward to seeing Richard again in Abu Dhabi when I hope we can try out the new podium facilities!"