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Toyota confirms F1 commitment

NEWS STORY
23/12/2008

Following the shock news that its parent company has recorded its first operating loss in almost seventy years, the men behind Toyota's F1 team have moved quickly to reaffirm the company's commitment to the sport.

"I guess everybody, not only motorsport teams, faced with the financial turmoil at the moment, is managing their business correctly," John Howett told BBC's 5 Live, "but I don't think we are living hand-to-mouth or from day-to-day."

Meanwhile, Yoshie Matsu­ura, a spokeswoman for the parent company, told the Guardian: "We have absolutely no plans to withdraw from Formula One.

"We know that F1 is very expensive and that cost-cutting is the key to survival," she added.

Yesterday's news regarding Toyota's operating loss resulted in another heart-stopping moment for motorsport, coming, as it does, in the wake of Honda's withdrawal from F1, Subaru and Suzuki quitting the WRC, and a host of other drastic decisions as the car manufacturers tighten their belts in the face of a worsening global financial crisis.

In recent weeks, the FIA, with the help of the teams that comprise the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA), has announced a raft of new rules aimed at cutting costs by as much as a third in the first year, however, the teams argue that this alone is not enough. Last week, Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo, who also happens to be FOTA Chairman, called on Bernie Ecclestone to give teams a bigger slice of the financial cake.

This call is echoed by Howett: "I believe in the Champions League, he told 5 Live, "it is upwards of 96-97% of ­revenues that is redistributed depending on where you finish, whereas at the moment we receive 50%. So given the current circumstances people would like to reopen that discussion."

Ecclestone however, has intimated to a Pitpass source that he has no intention a giving the teams any more than the 50 percent they already receive.

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