Toyota says it will not return to the Formula One circuit because the sport is out of touch with the carmaker’s customer base.
The company, which dropped out of Formula One racing last year, has instead decided to focus more on the USA’s NASCAR and events such as Germany’s Nurburgring 24-hour endurance race.
The radical change in thinking by President Akio Toyoda, coupled with the global financial crisis (GFC), which saw Toyota go through its worst financial crunch in 70 years, were the grounds for the F1 involvement to be axed in a bid to cut costs.
Senior Managing Director Tadashi Yamashina says the GFC only sped up the process of withdrawing from the F1 a lot sooner than expected.
“It might not have been so abrupt, but it would have happened” says Yamashina.
Yasahima then went on to say Toyota’s stance on motorsports was more focused on the customer and that the F1 in the end did not represent Toyota’s customer base.
Formula One remains the pinnacle of auto racing, but its image grew too “elitist,” Yamashima says.
President Toyoda believes the call to axe the F1 team was one of his toughest moments as president,given it put people out of jobs.
Toyota is not the only company to pull out of the F1, with ING recently ending its sponsorship deal with the Australian Grand Prix.
The F1 has been struggling to find sponsorship deals in the wake of the GFC with many companies having to withdraw from the F1 for cost cutting reasons.
Source: Automotive News