Toyota pulls out of Formula One

* Financial pressures force exit * Eight seasons: no wins * Focus on customer cars...

Toyota pulls out of Formula One

Toyota has quit Formula One, with immediate effect.

Blaming the 'current severe economic realities', Toyota said it could no longer remain dedicated to the competition.

Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motors Corporation, said: 'When I think of the fans, emotions well up inside me. All I can hope is that people will understand that this painful decision was unavoidable in view of the present business environment and the medium- and long-range outlook.'

Toyota's F1 track record
After eight seasons in F1, Toyota drivers reached the podium 13 times, but never won a race.

The company plans to use its motorsport experience in developing production vehicles, such as the Lexus LFA supercar and other compact rear-wheel-drive sports cars.

Shift in strategy
Akio Toyoda said that he had been calling for a new focus on Toyota's products since taking over as president in June.

'I have called for Toyota to concentrate on serving customers one at a time with vehicles that make them happy,' he said.

'That priority mandates a fundamental shift in resource allocation. A sad result of that shift is that we have insufficient resources to maintain a viable commitment to F1 racing.'

No Japanese F1 teams for 2010
Toyota's withdrawal means that no Japanese works teams will compete in next year's F1 championship. Honda left at the end of the 2008 season, leaving the team to be taken over by 2009 season winners Brawn.