toyota back in formula 1? this is what the team says about it

Is Toyota considering a return to Formula One? 'You have to do what suits you'

14 June at 18:00
Last update 14 June at 18:01
  • Ludo van Denderen

The car for the 2010 season was already fully developed and ready for testing, but Toyota suddenly stopped F1. In November 2009, the Japanese team announced their immediate departure from Formula 1. 15 years later, there is no regret about that decision, and a return to F1 shouldn't be expected, according to Rob Leupen (Team Director of the WEC team) during an exclusive interview with GPblog.

After leaving Formula 1, Toyota Gazoo Racing has emerged as the absolute best in the World Endurance Championship (WEC). The team won the 24 Hours of Le Mans six times, Toyota Gazoo's drivers became world champions in the WEC's premier class five times, and they won the constructors' championship six times.

While Audi opted for a new challenge after all their success in other classes, Toyota has no plans to switch to Formula 1. "First you then have to wait and see if you get a place," Leupen says. "Also, you have to prepare for years, like Audi does. And I think we have a lot to prepare here [in WEC]. Toyota has earlier goals to achieve in this championship than in Formula 1."

What has F1 given Toyota?

According to Leupen, as a brand you have to ask yourself which championship suits you best. In addition, the Dutchman says: "What did Formula 1 bring Toyota at the time, apart from a nice factory? A lot of money went through to make Toyota's name better known. I think in WEC we can show more what Toyota does, what the brand stands for."

Here, Leupen is referring in particular to Toyota Powertrain; developments that you find in the Japanese manufacturer's normal street cars. "We have Toyota cars on the road that were originally developed for racing. Thanks to motorsport, we should be able to make better cars for our customers. We are working on cars that are co-developed in Cologne, and then the information is passed on to Japan and the consumer in five years. In Formula 1, that bridge can no longer be made."

Moreover, Toyota enjoys the WEC as it currently is. "I think with the manufacturers we are creating a very nice series here. Hopefully, we will continue here with the next generation of cars, where only water comes out of the exhaust."