The former boss of Toyota’s F1 programme, Tadashi Yamashina, has said that the Japanese company is not intending a return to Formula 1, as the sport is too distant from ordinary drivers.
Talking to Automotive News, Yamashina said that regardless of the global financial troubles that speeded up Toyota’s departure, the team would have pulled out soon anyway:
"It might not have been so abrupt, but it would have happened.
President [Akio] Toyoda’s stance on motorsports is geared more
toward the customer. There is a big gap between Formula One and
Toyota’s actual car users."
Also, he claimed that the gap is too large betwee the average fan and the sport:
"Average fans have no hope of strolling the paddock at a Formula
For the fortunate few who can afford to do that, it's fine. I think
the best kind of races are those in which people can get in close
to the race."
What he says is true. Formula 1 isn’t linked enough with the fan, and neither is it geared towards average road users. But it isn’t supposed to be. Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motorsport, and should have the best drivers, the fastest cars, and the best teams. Toyota competed here from 2002 to 2009, spending hundreds of millions, and never won a single race. If you can’t win after spending more than all of the small teams combined, you have only yourself to blame.
Toyota is still competing in NASCAR, a sport which is excellent when it comes to linking the fans with the race. Spectators can walk right up to the teams’ areas, even in the pit lane I’m told. While Formula 1 is nothing like that, this isn’t a worthwhile excuse to stay out of F1.