Toyota fallout signals new era for F1

A former senior member of Toyota's team has slammed John Howett in the wake of the Japanese carmaker's decision to withdraw from Formula One. "The Japanese trusted the wrong people," said ex head of research Norbert Kreyer, who was fired in late...

A former senior member of Toyota's team has slammed John Howett in the wake of the Japanese carmaker's decision to withdraw from Formula One.

"The Japanese trusted the wrong people," said ex head of research Norbert Kreyer, who was fired in late 2004.

"Why did they give a job to a bureaucrat who understood nothing about racing?" he added, specifically naming Briton Howett, the team's president who before moving to Cologne worked for Toyota/Lexus in marketing.

Another former team member is Richard Cregan, who left to oversee Abu Dhabi's new F1 track. Irishman Cregan, formerly Toyota's team manager, also blames "certain individuals" for the demise.

"There's a well-proven formula on how to go about motor racing at that level," he told the Guardian. "Ignore that, and you do so at your peril.

"It was not recognised early enough that the direction the team was taking was simply not correct. But that was pretty obvious to those who knew what the business is all about," added Cregan.

Two insiders are not concerned that the carmaker exodus, following the departures of Honda, BMW and Renault's current deliberations, signal a death knell for the sport.

"F1 at the moment is like a sauna, where the unnecessary ballast is sweated out and afterwards there is a new start," Niki Lauda wrote in a column for Sport Bild.

"I am convinced that Mercedes' (more efficient) philosophy will be adopted by other manufacturers and we could even see new ones coming in over the course of the next few years."

Adam Parr, chief executive of the fiercely independent Williams team, agrees that a new era in F1 is dawning.

"Perhaps this is the end of a decade of manufacturer dominance and what we will now see over the next decade is a sport that resembles much more closely the 1990s," he told Reuters.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Niki Lauda , Richard Cregan , Adam Parr
Teams Mercedes , Williams