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Formula 1 News - January, 2009
Weak season means 'no future' for Toyota

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Jan.21 (GMM) Toyota chiefs have effectively confirmed reports that a poor showing in 2009 will spell and end to the Japanese manufacturer's formula one foray.

At and before the recent launch of the new TF109 car, representatives of the Cologne based squad intimated that without a successful campaign this season, the Toyota board could echo Honda's decision to withdraw.

"We need a strong season," team president John Howett confirmed at the Algarve circuit on Tuesday, where Toyota and other teams are testing their new cars.

He said the team is under "increased scrutiny" from its bosses in Tokyo due to the world financial crisis.

"If we have a weak season we have no future," Howett added.

Howett and his management colleagues have set the target of securing Toyota's first race victory in 2009, and driver Jarno Trulli told an Italian newspaper just before the recent launch that a win within six races in 2009 is necessary.

Howett responded: "Whether we have to win is difficult to say, but I think we feel we have to win.

"It's our desire and our passion, shared by our people in Cologne, and we feel we must win to secure a very bright future in formula one."

One factor in the team's favour could be the new promotion to president of the Toyota Motor Corporation of Akio Toyoda.

"Mr Akio Toyoda is a fan of motor sport and he himself used to do some races, for example participating in the Nurburgring 24 hours," team boss Tadashi Yamashina said.

Yamashina suggested that Toyota's outgoing president, Katsuaki Watanabe, had recently overseen a review of the formula one project.

"Fortunately for us, our president decided that we will stay (in F1)," he is quoted as saying by Auto Motor und Sport.

"This season is therefore very important for us. We need to reduce costs and demonstrate to Toyota that the investment in formula one is worthwhile," he added.

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