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Page last updated at 15:48 GMT, Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Toyota commits to F1 despite loss

Timo Glock drives a Toyota
Toyota is committed to F1 but say the team must cut costs

Toyota has vowed to continue running its Formula One team despite forecasting an annual loss of 1.1bn.

Following Honda's shock departure from the sport in December because of the global economic crisis, it had been feared Toyota could follow suit.

But Toyota Motor Corporation president Katsuaki Watanabe insisted: "We will continue F1 and other motorsport activities while cutting costs.

"To keep [spending] up at the current level is extremely difficult."

Toyota, the world's biggest carmaker, announced on Monday that it was bracing itself for its first annual loss in 71 years because of plummeting sales and a surge in the value of the yen.

Watanabe added: "The change in the world economy is of a magnitude that comes once every hundred years.

"We are facing an unprecedented emergency."

Rufus McDufus
But Toyota, who made their F1 debut in 2002, insist they do not plan to follow fellow Japanese teams Honda, Subaru and Suzuki out of motorsport.

Honda, which spent more than 300m a year on F1, withdrew from the sport on 5 December blaming the contraction of the global economy.

Last week Subaru, whose cars are made by Fuji Heavy Industries, and Suzuki pulled out of the World Rally Championship for the same reason.

Toyota plans to continue operating in F1 but warned the team would have to scale back costs.

This month F1's teams and the governing body, the FIA, agreed key cost-cutting measures for the next two seasons to help guarantee the future of the sport.

Those measures include doubling engine life, reducing engine revs and cutting the cost of engines to independent teams.

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see also
Toyota braced for historic loss
22 Dec 08 |  Business
Subaru pull out of world rallying
16 Dec 08 |  Rallying
Suzuki pull out of world rallying
15 Dec 08 |  Rallying
F1 unveils cost-cutting blueprint
12 Dec 08 |  Formula One
Cost-cutting plan agreed for F1
10 Dec 08 |  Formula One
Global crisis ends Honda F1 era
05 Dec 08 |  Formula One

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