Toyota unhappy with FIA

Toyota, due to enter the Formula One World Championship in the 2002 season, has expressed its unhappiness with the rule changes imposed by the sanctioning body. Toyota began its development program with a 12-cylinder engine design, with the...

Toyota, due to enter the Formula One World Championship in the 2002 season, has expressed its unhappiness with the rule changes imposed by the sanctioning body.

Toyota began its development program with a 12-cylinder engine design, with the plan to enter for the 2001 season. However, a rule change approved at the January FIA World Council meeting threw a wrench into the works by limiting engines to ten cylinders until 2008.

Kevin Perlmutter, a spokesman for Toyota Europe, finds it hard not to blame FIA for the one-year delay. "I would be very surprised if the team knew about the rule change, and certainly would not have started working on a 12-cylinder engine if they did," he said. "The [ruling] has changed the team's plans, and our focus has had to turn to working on a 10-cylinder engine."

The delay is costly for Toyota: not only do they need to pay for another year of development, without the commensurate publicity of actually racing in Formula One, but FIA also imposed a $12 million fine for the delayed entry.

The team is now targeted for 2002, however, said Ove Andersson, the team chief: We will be ready to take part in races in 2002. We will spend 2001 on a test and development programme."

One of the remaining questions is still the team's driver line-up, both for the development work in 2001, and for the championship contest in 2002. Rumors have the team buying Mika Salo's contract from Sauber, but neither team has yet confirmed that move.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Mika Salo
Teams Sauber