Tokyo : Toyota Motor Corp, the world’s largest carmaker, is planning to quit Formula One racing, Japanese media reports said Wednesday.
Quoting sources close to the company, the reports said Toyota decided on the step in an attempt to cut costs. The carmaker is expecting to report losses for the second consecutive year, due to collapsing sales in the US and European markets.
A formal announcement is expected later Wednesday, the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper said.
Toyota is expected to report its earnings for the six months ending Sep 30 Thursday.
The carmaker debuted in Formula One in 2002, but has never celebrated a Grand Prix win. In the 2009 season its drivers Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock finished eighth and 10th respectively in the drivers’ standings.
Toyota is following in the footsteps of Honda Motor Co and Germany’s BMW AG, who also left the Formula One racing circuit. With Toyota’s departure, no Japanese team will be left in Formula One.
Brawn GP, the team which took over Honda’s F1 racing operation, won both the 2009 drivers’ and constructors’ championships.
On Monday, Japanese tyre maker Bridgestone also announced plans to abandon F1 racing when its current contract expires by the end of the 2010 season.
In July, Toyota-owned Fuji International Speedway said it would stop hosting the Japanese Grand Prix from 2010 onwards.