By on December 5, 2012

Toyota dropped out of Formula One in 2009, and said it won’t come back, claiming that the sports is “too elistist” and out of touch with Toyota’s customers. Now, the company is dropping hints that the door is not closed forever. Asked by The Nikkei [sub] whether Toyota might come back to the sport, Toyota Managing Officer Kiyotaka Ise was much less dismissive than in the past:

“ First, we’ll need to raise the profile of our hybrid vehicles through the WEC races and accumulate more technological expertise. Next year, we want to win the WEC’s Le Mans 24-hour race in France. We’re preparing for that now.”

Toyota won three out of eight races at this year’s World Endurance Championship. Its hybrid-race car uses a capacitor that can quickly charge and discharge electricity, which is created when the driver hits the brakes. The stored power helps accelerate the car when the driver turns around corners.

This sounds like the perfect system for 2014, when Formula One increases the capacity for Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) from 60kw to 120kw, while fuel consumption is restricted. That “greener” Formula One appears to be made to measure for hybrid-heavy Toyota. Said Ise::

We withdrew from Formula 1 races in 2009 and needed to clearly define ourselves when it came to motor sports again. And we have zeroed in on hybrid vehicles.”

So does Formula One.

In addition to its WEC engagement, Toyota plans races with its hachi-roku, and possibly “a similar event for our luxury Lexus line.,” Ise said.

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12 Comments on ““Greener” Formula One Made To Measure For Toyota...”


  • avatar
    michal1980

    I welcome these changes. seems like most of the high end car racing scene has reached a wall in how fast they go. I think they should open up engine options, but put limits on fuel. Fast most efficent car wins, who cares how you get there, v24, or a 1l with 40 turbos.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    The 2014 LMP1 rules are going to be just that. Similar to the old group C rules, they will place a limit on energy consumption with very few other limits on your powertrain. Will be very interesting to see what Toyota, Audi, Porshe, and any other manufacturers who get involved come up with.

  • avatar
    ExPatBrit

    Winning must be too “elitist”!

    They quit Formula 1 because they were never really competitive.

    In 8 years they never won a single race.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      You didn`t expect the author to state the real reason. Snark is reserved for other manufacturers.

    • 0 avatar
      TW4

      Toyota, BMW, and Honda all quit b/c they participate in F1 for engine building purposes. The FIA killed engine competition by homologating the engines, equalizing the engines, and then requiring the manufacturers to lease the engines to other teams.

      F1 has become an aerodynamics/chassis competition (exclusively) b/c the sport is run by Brits, and Brits have all of the best aerodynamics engineers and chassis constructors. A British engine builder was invited back into the fray. Advanced engine building was put out to pasture in the name of cost cutting. Ferrari and Mercedes allowed the engine rules to change so they could knock down a bigger paycheck. Renault abandoned their factory team, but they had Newey at RBR so they stayed in.

      The new F1 rules no longer require equalization, and the rules tolerate a wider variety of technologies, like high-pressure fuel injection and turbocharging. Toyota and Honda are both mulling a comeback.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    People cheering for their countries cars like they were their countries World Cup team. Unapproachable team members and drivers that think they’re minor deities refusing to speak to the public. Went to the F1 race at Indy. Their other two races at Indy were much more enjoyable. Indy Car and NASCAR understand publicity and don’t consider it a privilege we should be allowed to watch the race.

    • 0 avatar
      ExPatBrit

      I think the fans cheer on their countries drivers, not really the cars although the tifosi are pretty vocal.

      I would agree as regards Indycar and Nascar at the brickyard. Indy was a poor F1 venue. Montreal is far better.

      Formula 1 is adding venues, seems like Indy-car is struggling and Nascar is fading a little. Technology wise they are both a bit limited, Nascar in particular with it’s push-rods, carburetors, steering boxes and drum brakes.

      The new F1 race at Austin was excellent this year and well run, the track is a great venue for Formula 1 cars. Should be some good bike-races also. Hopefully they can keep the momentum going.

      • 0 avatar

        The cars may not be as advanced as F1 (which has its own hamstrings on innovation) but technology in a NASCAR race shop is as high as it is in any other series. You think Roger Penske doesn’t hire the best for all the series he races in? FWIW, while NASCAR still uses pushrods (as the 638 HP Chevy LS9 engine does), they don’t have carburetors, steering boxes or drum brakes. NASCAR Sprint Cup cars are purpose built tube frame race cars, with disc brakes, rack & pinion steering and, now, finally, fuel injection.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    For how much it was maligned, I’m going to miss the crew at Speed. F-1 can still be fun, if your commentary is fun. The various BBC/Itv-f1 crews over the years have been to varying degrees have been competent but calculating… Martin Brundle as entertaining as he can be, can sound like he’s talking down his nose at the drivers. (Like Coulthard, I hope he stays for the long haul) And let’s not bring up James Allen going on and on and on about tires and pitstops as if they were the reason that you came to watch the race. For all of their faults, Bob and the boys were having fun, and that was the feed that I usually settled on when I got up at 4:30 in the the morning.

    It would be a poor business decision for Toyota nonetheless. With four or five good teams and a competitive driving field at the front, that basically leaves everybody fighting for scaps. Of course, somebody could buy HRT….

    • 0 avatar
      tjh8402

      There’s always room to supply engines. Williams, Sauber, and Lotus are all customer engine teams that have shown winning potential (with actual victories for Williams and Lotus) in the last season, with Williams and Sauber in particular I imagine being eager for a partnership with a manufacturer. Sauber also has a Japanese driver which would I’m sure help Toyota with the fans at home.


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