Many of you may know that Toyota’s F1 team are actually based in cologne Germany but what you may not know is that thye have been there for 30 years. What may may also have not known is that current team president John Howett has been there for every single year.
â€œThe decision to move from Brussels came as a result of the expansion of Toyota Deutschland (TDG),â€ he recalls. â€œFor the European base of Toyotaâ€™s motorsport activities it was logical that we should have a purpose-built facility rather than the rented premises in Brussels which were used previously.â€
Toyota has held a resolute approach to basing its European motorsport operations in Cologne and believes its central European location has yielded tangible advantages over the years.
â€œThere is no doubt about it; being based in Cologne is an asset,â€ adds John. â€œThe people are hard-working, friendly and welcoming. Cologne is also quite a green city, with a lot of parks and open spaces so you see a lot of people enjoying the outdoors in the city, especially in the summer. Culturally the people here seem to spend more time eating and drinking outside and I think that is one of the reasons why the people of Cologne seem more outgoing.â€
The operation has shouldered every form of motor sport Toyota has entered from Rally to Le Mans and now F1. Why Germany? Why not run a less expensive operation from Japan as economies of scale would certainly benefit?
â€œFormula 1 is a global industry so we have brought a lot of staff to Cologne simply because you need a varied mix of people and it is never possible to source a whole team from one region,â€ says John. â€œBut we have also recruited a lot of staff from the Cologne region and we have found some really good workers here. This region has some very well qualiï¬ed people to work in our company, particularly when it comes to fabrication and engineering, and this is a real advantage of our location. We have also seen some Toyota hotspots developing throughout the city where our staff congregate and socialise on a regular basis, including Japanese restaurants Daitokai, Kintaro and Momotaro and bars such as Barneys, Jamesons and 4 Cani della CittÃ .â€
Check out Toyota’s online magazine for more information here. Congratulations to Toyota and John Howett…now let us just hope they don’t decide to leave like BMW and Honda.