Howett: Denies Toyota’s exit in 2010

John Howett, Toyota F1’s boss, denies the barrage of rumors that came out of the Monaco weekend. Specifically the rumors about Toyota’s departure from the sport in 2010 using the Mosley/FIA issue as the catalyst for doing so. Some rumors suggest that it is already a done deal and that Toyota knew they would be leaving prior to the start of the 2009 season.

Mr. Howett suggests this is all ‘spin’.

“I believe that is all spin,” Toyota team president John Howett is quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph. “It has been put there deliberately to create some more tension in the situation.

“I don’t know the source, but I can only say in our case that there is a clear wish to enter next year’s championship,” he added.

Now color me reactionary but leaving now would be a huge mistake on Toyota’s part. They are just beginning to look good and be respectable within F1. However, Toyota made no bones about their being in F1 to compete against their rival Honda and now that they are gone; what’s the point? Toyota have spent hundreds of millions on their program only to see mediocre results at best and spending in perpetuity for mediocrity is not something anyone relishes.

So what does Toyota have to prove? Actually, a lot if you ask me. If you dabble your toe in the chilly waters of F1, you should be prepared to see it through. Toyota has gained a lot of respect in my book by putting their product before the finest in the world and starting to show pace and be on par with some of the biggest names in cars. Yes, Toyota have done well in NASCAR but that doesn’t say squat compared to F1 circles. They have a lot of fans and their commitment to F1 should be something cherished by all. They have placed themselves at the height of exposure and while they were handed their arses for the first several years; they have come back strong showing a resolve and excellence in engineering that only a spare few can achieve. If Toyota want to be taken seriously against the German and European car makers; F1 is the place to do it. To that point, they were starting to answer critics and I was getting excited about their program. To pack it in now only says one thing:

Like Honda, or perhaps worse, Toyota couldn’t hack it in F1 and is not a car company that can actually make world class cars. They should stick to small, economic cars no one wants and possibly consider getting out of racing all together as they are clearly not a company of exceptional engineering or racing pedigree.

I doubt this is the message they want to send but it is the message most F1 fans will take away upon their exit from F1.

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