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Toyota, Bridgestone Abandon Formula Eeeww

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On: Wed, Nov 4, 2009 at 12:44PM | By: John Welch

Toyota, Bridgestone Abandon Formula Eeeww

Toyota announced that it would pull the plug on its Formula 1 program today, confirming rumors that have been floating around the F1 world since the middle of the 2009 season. In an even stranger turn of events, Bridgestone, the tire company that chased Michellin out of the sport several years ago, decided to end their involvement in the F1 World Championship following the 2010 season.

The last race of the year, at Abu Dhabi, was hardly the end of speculation, tumultuous drama, or manufacturer postering for 2009. Three days removed from the final event, several major players in F1 have dropped out all together, while other teams now no longer have a hope for an inclusion in the 2010 championship.

Toyota joined the Formula Eeeww circus in 2002, with high hopes and great expectations. Though they have contended for poles and race wins, Toyota has yet to occupy the top step on the podium. No longer able to justify the massive costs involved, Toyota boss Akio Toyoda decided his company would withdraw before 2010. It will be interesting to see how this plays out; Toyota signed the Concord Agreement with the FIA earlier this year, effectively attaching themselves to F1 for the next three years. Legal action from the FIA may well be in the works. Also, drivers like Heikki Kovalainen and Kamui Kobayashi were hoping for Toyota seats next year, Toyota having released Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock immediately after the Abu Dhabi GP. Where will these drivers end up? We'll have to wait and see.

The Bridgestone announcement also came as quite a surprise. After dominating F1 during the multi-tire years, Bridgestone has occupied the postion of sole supplier since 2006. This decision is completely unexpected, and leaves Japan with almost zero Formula One presence. No more Honda, Toyota or Bridgestone. Weird. I'm currently watching the RoC (report to come shortly) broadcast on Freecaster.tv, and the commentator (have not caught his name, sorry) will not stop mentioning the possible withdraw of Renault!!! That would leave Mercedes, Ferrari, and Cosworth as the only engine suppliers unless the Quadbak Consortium is able to run BMW engines for Sauber next season. Events continue to benefit the new Cosworth-powered teams, USGPE included.

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