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Toyota severs ties with Hispania

Bruno Senna
It has been an unsettled first season in Formula 1 for Hispania

Toyota has ended an agreement with Hispania Racing and is chasing "contractual payment" from the struggling Formula 1 newcomers.

The Japanese firm, which quit F1 at the end of 2009, had intended to supply Hispania with cars in 2011 but pulled the deal because of a lack of payment.

In a statement, Cologne-based Toyota confirmed that "all cooperation with Hispania has been terminated".

Hispania said they "were surprised" by Toyota's statement.

"This matter will be the subject of further clarification," read a Hispania statement, while Hispania technical chief Geoff Willis said there would be no comment until explanations had been sought from team principal Dr Colin Kolles and owner Jose Ramon Carabantes.

The Spanish team, who were one of three new entrants in 2010, struck a deal with Toyota this summer to design and construct their cars for the 2011 campaign.

606: DEBATE
Sheff Hatter

Toyota were basing the design on the concept for the TF1-10 car which had been developed for the 2010 season before the Japanese car manufacturer decided to withdraw from the sport.

Staff at Toyota's factory in Cologne had already completed wind tunnel work and aerodynamic work as part of this process.

Hispania failed to meet payments on this work and, as a result, Toyota have terminated the agreement.

"Toyota retains all intellectual property rights to its current F1 car and is completely free to pursue other projects and support new customers for its high-performance engineering services," added Toyota.

"Toyota regrets that HRT has not met its contractual payment obligations and will pursue all available options to reach a satisfactory conclusion to this matter."

The news of Hispania's failure to meet its bills comes only two weeks after the team announced a new backer in the form of Spanish businessman Joan Villalonga.

It had been thought that his involvement would help stabilise the team and attract new sponsors.

There are now also question marks over who will supply Hispania's car for the coming campaign which begins in Bahrain on 13 March.

In May, Hispania broke its ties with Italian constructor Dallara, who designed the chassis for their under-performing 2010 car.

Team principal Kolles has confirmed that the team, which will remain based in Spain, intends to stay with engine supplier Cosworth next season.

It has also recently reached an agreement with the Williams team, which is also powered by Cosworth, to use its gearboxes next season.

Hispania endured a troubled start to F1, with an internal takeover and subsequent name change from Campos Meta to Hispania in the build-up to the 2010 campaign.

The Spanish marque only just made it on to the grid for the season-opener in Bahrain in March after a race against time to be ready and used four drivers during the campaign.

They began with Brazilian Bruno Senna and India's Karun Chandhok as their drivers, before Japan's Sakon Yamamoto was drafted in for the British Grand Prix after bringing money to the team.

Yamamoto initially replaced Senna but then took Chandhok's seat for the following race in Germany.

Austrian veteran Christian Klien was then given his first F1 drive in four years when he deputised for the ill Yamamoto in Singapore.

In September, Kolles told BBC Sport that Hispania would be on the grid in 2011, despite rumours of budgetary problems all season.

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see also
Williams agree Hispania link-up
02 Nov 10 |  Formula 1
Hispania split from chassis maker
26 May 10 |  Formula 1
Hispania Racing Team
14 Nov 10 |  Drivers & Teams


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