Tokyo, Japan – Toyota has announced it plans to withdraw from the Formula One World Championship (F1) at the end of the 2009 season.

The company said that it had viewed its participation in F1 as contributing to the prosperity of automotive culture, and remained dedicated to competition even in the face of abrupt economic changes that started last year. However, when considering its motorsports activities next year and beyond from a comprehensive view reflecting the current severe economic realities, Toyota decided to withdraw from F1.

Toyota leaves F1 having compiled 13 podium and 87 point finishes over eight seasons since 2002 with Panasonic Toyota Racing. The company said it intends to do its best to find a solution for the drivers and Toyota Motorsport employees affected by the decision.

Drawing on its experience, Toyota intends to move forward with its LFA supercar and compact rear-wheel drive sports cars, and will not only race in various categories, but will actively support grassroots races and plan events in which it is easy for people to participate.

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