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GP Week : Issue 48
> F1NEWS> Toyota/Fuji future in doubt THE future of the Toyota F1 Team and Fuji Speedway, the manufacturer’s circuit in Formula 1, has been cast into serious doubt following enormous losses for the Toyota Motor Corporation. With a forecast $8.6billion annual loss, Toyota has been left trying desperately to cut costs. Its main rival in the Japanese automotive industry, Honda, used the global economic crisis and huge 2008 losses to excuse its own pulling out of Formula 1 at the end of last year, and there are real fears that Toyota could follow Honda out of F1 at the end of 2009. Despite the FOTA teams submitting a joint conditional entry for 2010, the rumours over Toyota’s pulling out of F1 regardless of a political resolution to the issue of regulation and governance refuse to disappear. “It is Toyota’s sincere wish to be part of Formula 1 in 2010, and the conditions attached to our entry, if agreed, would enable us to commit to the sport until the end of 2012,” refuted Toyota Motorsport President John Howett. “We are optimistic we can work productively with the Federation [FIA] to build a solid foundation for the future of Formula 1, based on lasting stability and sound governance.” Allied to the manufacturer’s need to cut costs is the continuing doubt over the future of the Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji. The track currently operates a share scheme with Honda’s circuit, Suzuka, with the two tracks taking it in turns to host the F1 race. But with Toyota’s budget believed to be ailing, the future of the Japanese race at Fuji is no longer thought to be secure – although Fuji and Toyota representatives were again quick to try and dispel such rumours. But it is not just Toyota which is rumoured to be thinking about pulling out of F1. Speculation resurfaced this week that Renault is also weighing up its options in F1. Should the team pull out of the sport, it is thought likely that Flavio Briatore would stage a management buyout, similar to that undertaken by Ross Brawn of the former Honda squad. Turkish Delight F1 heads for Istanbul Park this weekend ...