A couple of days ago it was officially announced that Toyota has dropped out of Formula One. The automaker came into the sport only seven years ago and since then has produced a handful of good results and zero wins. The company was hoping to secure its first win this season, but after some hopeful qualifying results, the race results never transpired. The auto giant threw a lot of money at the sport, but could still never get the ultimate result that it wanted. This probably goes to show that racing in Formula One has a lot more to do with the people that are in and around the team, rather than simply having a ton of cash. The company has cited the economic downturn for their dropping out and now join Honda as the next big manufacturer to leave the sport.
What this means for Formula One is that there are no more Japanese manufacturers in the sport. In fact, there will be zero Japanese presence after Bridgestone leaves after 2010. This is a bad turn for a sport that prides itself on being a “World Championship” (even though there isn’t a round in the largest auto buying market in the world in the USA, but whatever Bernie). Plus, with no Japanese automakers on the grid, there will probably be zero Japanese drivers. Takuma Sato was always backed by Honda, and he is no more, Kazuki Nakajima was backed by Toyota and probably won’t have a seat and newcomer Kamui Kobayashi – though very impressive in two races – is most likely also going to be without a seat.
And at the end of next season, after Bridgestone leaves, there will really be zero Japanese contingent, other than the race at Suzuka. But the big draw for that crowd was to come out and cheer on their countrymen and the cars they drive, but they probably won’t get a chance to do that.
Luckily for the sport, Renault has decided to continue on, despite the controversies of this year. It is always good for the sport to have big names there so people can root for them against a rival team. Imagine what the sport would be like if there was no McLaren to battle Ferrari, or a… well I guess that’s kinda it now isn’t it. Of course there will be other battles, but you won’t have a Honda vs. Toyota race or a BMW vs. Mercedes race anymore. Now you will have a Campos vs. USF1 race, which though it may be entertaining, will most likely not be for any points. More stories are bound to come up over the course of this winter break, and there are only 100 days left until the first round of the 2010 season starts in Bahrain.