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Toyota announce Formula One withdrawal 04 Nov 2009

Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota TF109 in the third practice session.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Saturday, 31 October 2009 Timo Glock (GER) Toyota celebrates his second position on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Singapore Grand Prix, Race, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Sunday, 27 September 2009 Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota celebrates 2nd place with the team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Japanese Grand Prix, Race, Suzuka, Japan, Sunday, 4 October 2009 Tadashi Yamashina (JPN) Toyota F1 Chairman congratulates Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Toyota on his first points finish. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Race, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Sunday, 1 November 2009 Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota TF109.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Suzuka, Japan, Friday, 2 October 2009

Toyota will be absent from the grid next season after the team’s parent company announced its withdrawal from Formula One racing on Wednesday. The team had been competing since 2002.

“Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) announces it plans to withdraw from the FIA Formula One World Championship at the end of the 2009 season,” said a statement released by the Japanese car manufacturer.

“TMC, which had viewed its participation in F1 as contributing to the prosperity of automotive culture, remained dedicated to competing at the pinnacle of motor sports, even in the face of the abrupt economic changes that started last year.

“However, when considering TMC’s motor-sports activities next year and beyond from a comprehensive midterm viewpoint reflecting the current severe economic realities, TMC decided to withdraw from F1."

Over the last eight seasons, Toyota have scored three pole positions, three fastest laps, 13 podiums and 278.5 points, though never that elusive win. Current race drivers Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock both hope to find seats elsewhere for 2010.

"TMC views its time in F1 - in which teams put forth their best efforts to fiercely compete at racing’s highest level - as an irreplaceable experience that provided an opportunity to develop both human resources and its R&D operations," continued the statement. "TMC expresses its deepest appreciation to its F1 fans and others for their warm support.

“TMC also wants to express its heartfelt gratitude to all Panasonic Toyota Racing drivers to date and to all Toyota Motorsport GmbH employees who have helped make the team’s achievements possible,” continued the statement. “TMC intends to do its best to find a solution for those parties who will be affected by any inconvenience this decision may cause.”

The news comes as a bitter blow to the team’s third driver Kamui Kobayashi, who had hoped to secure a race seat for next season after impressive performances at the last two rounds where he stood in for the injured Glock. The Williams team, who used Toyota engines this season, have already announced that they will be switching to Cosworth power next season.

Toyota’s withdrawal means the Sauber team, recently sold to new owners after BMW’s pullout, should now be assured of a place on the entry list for next year’s championship.

Toyota’s statement in full:
Tokyo - TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION (TMC) announces it plans to withdraw from the FIA Formula One World Championship (F1) at the end of the 2009 season.

TMC, which had viewed its participation in F1 as contributing to the prosperity of automotive culture, remained dedicated to competing at the pinnacle of motor sports, even in the face of the abrupt economic changes that started last year. However, when considering TMC’s motor-sports activities next year and beyond from a comprehensive midterm viewpoint reflecting the current severe economic realities,TMC decided to withdraw from F1.

TMC leaves F1 having compiled 13 podium and 87 point finishes over eight challenging seasons since 2002 with Panasonic Toyota Racing, a full-constructor team. It views its time in F1 - in which teams put forth their best efforts to fiercely compete at racings' highest level - as an irreplaceable experience that provided an opportunity to develop both human resources and its R&D operations. TMC expresses its deepest appreciation to its F1 fans and others for their warm support.

TMC also wants to express its heartfelt gratitude to all Panasonic Toyota Racing drivers to date and to all Toyota Motorsport GmbH employees who have helped make the team’s achievements possible. TMC intends to do its best to find a solution for those parties who will be affected by any inconvenience this decision may cause.

Drawing on its experience in F1 and other motor sports, TMC intends to move forward in developing exciting production vehicles, such as the Lexus ‘LFA’ supercar and compact rear-wheel-drive sports cars. In motor sports, it will not only race in various categories, but will also actively contribute to further development of motor sports by supporting grassroots races and planning events in which it is easy for people to participate.