John Howett believes his team's intention to commit to Formula One for the next three years ends the speculation regarding their future.
We are staying: Toyota
The Toyota Motorsport boss John Howett believes his team's intention to commit to Formula One for the next three years ends the speculation regarding their future in the sport. Toyota have been rumoured, along with BMW Sauber and Renault, to be quitting the series at the end of this season due to the spiralling costs, and the global crisis surrounding the car industry.
But Toyota yesterday joined eight other current Formula One teams in lodging a block entry to compete in 2010, and beyond, through to 2012. They along with Ferrari, McLaren, BMW Sauber, Renault, Red Bull Racing, Toro Rosso, Brawn GP and Force India, have provided a firm undertaking to sign up for another three years - with conditions. "It is Toyota's sincere wish to be part of Formula One in 2010, and the conditions attached to our entry, if agreed, would enable us to commit to the sport until the end of 2012," confirmed Howett.
"As explained in the FOTA (Formula One Teams' Association) statement, our entry is conditional upon the specific conditions which have been outlined being satisfied. "We are optimistic we can work productively with the Federation to build a solid foundation for the future of Formula One, based on lasting stability and sound governance." Toyota have been a constructor in Formula One since 2002 and are third in this year's constructors' table with their race drivers Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock both having finished on the podium this season.
However, the team has yet to score a victory in their eight years in the sport. The Formula One Teams' Association are demanding the basis of the 2010 regulations be this year's rules, which were already a radical departure from the 2008 championship, with slick tyres and changes to the aerodynamic parts of the car, which were made in an attempt to create more passing opportunities on the track. In essence it means there would be no voluntary £40million (Dh233m) budget cap as was originally stipulated by the FIA president Max Mosley in his plans, the proposal that infuriated most of the teams.
As FOTA stated, they have "unanimously agreed further and significant actions to substantially reduce the costs of competing in the championship in the next three years". They feel that would "create a mechanism that will preserve the technological competition and the sporting challenge and, at the same time, facilitate the entry in the championship for new teams". Mosley has 10 teams - the Williams team signed up unconditionally on Monday to take part next season - who have vowed to compete in a FIA-run Formula One championship over the next three years, during which time they will continue to work on reducing the running costs to an acceptable level for teams to stay involved.
The second proviso is that all parties - the teams, the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Management group - sign a new Concorde Agreement before June 12. The Agreement is a binding regulatory and commercial protocol which has governed the sport for the previous 25 years. In this case it would include the re-formation of the Formula One Commission which would see the FIA and teams working together on regulations.
Mosley's governance, and his unilateral imposition of the rules without consulting the teams over them, has been at the core of the war that has raged these past few weeks. As FOTA added: "The renewal of the Concorde Agreement will provide security for the future of the sport by binding all parties in a formal relationship that will ensure stability via sound governance." * PA Sport