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Page last updated at 11:51 GMT, Sunday, 10 May 2009 12:51 UK

Toyota threaten pull-out from F1

Toyota drivers Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock
Toyota drivers Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock's F1 futures are uncertain

Toyota say they will not enter Formula 1 next year unless new rules published by the governing body are changed.

The FIA recently unveiled plans to encourage teams to operate within a £40m budget cap from 2010.

Toyota F1 boss John Howett said: "If nothing changes, we won't be submitting an entry. I don't think that's a unique opinion among other competitors."

Howett said a meeting was planned between FIA president Max Mosley and the teams' association Fota.

Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo, the president of Fota, would meet Max Mosley "next week or early the week following", Howett said.

Mosley had planned to visit this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix, but cancelled the trip following the death of his son last week.

Any team wishing to compete in next year's championship must notify the FIA by 29 May and state whether they wish to compete under the cost-cap regulations.

Those who comply would gain greater technical freedom and have unlimited out-of-season testing.

The FIA wants the cap to encourage new teams to enter and also to keep the existing 10 teams on the grid following Honda's sudden departure last December.

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Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, who heads the Formula 1 Teams' Association (Fota), wrote to FIA president Max Mosley last week to express concerns about the cost cap which he said could lead to a two-tier F1.

He said the idea would create a two-tier F1 that could be "fundamentally unfair and perhaps even biased".

Howett, who is vice-chairman of Fota, said Toyota, who have yet to win a race since their debut in 2002 despite having an annual budget estimated at about £200m, wanted a level playing field.

"I think it's very clear that with a double-tier championship, you have to go for the £40m cap because the (capped) cars will be quicker," he said.

"As a corporation it's not only budget, it's about the value of Formula 1. And we think the double tier series is not the right direction."

"The regulations were announced but if you read the regulations, there is a proper process that should be followed and our understanding is that that hasn't been done," he said.

"There are a number of issues that need to be clarified before we can enter."

Howett said Toyota, who also provide Williams with engines, would like to remain in Formula 1 but had alternatives.

"We have social issues with our people," he said. "A £40m budget means that we would have to make a huge number of people redundant.

"And there are other categories that we could consider where we may be able to operate in a completely different manner.

"We would love to stay here and we want to compete in the premier level of motorsport. But I think it has to be said that given the current situation as we stand, it is impossible to submit an entry."



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see also
F1 drivers stand behind Ferrari
07 May 09 |  Formula 1
F1 boss Mosley's son found dead
06 May 09 |  London
F1 teams handed 40m budget cap
30 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Button backs F1 budget cap plan
30 Apr 09 |  Formula 1


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