Mar.22 (GMM) In the wake of its withdrawal from formula one, and the lapsing of an arrangement with Stefan GP, there is still activity at Toyota’s Cologne headquarters.
Sauber revealed in its official Australian GP media preview that Kamui Kobayashi, the Swiss team’s new Japanese and Toyota-backed driver, learned the layout of the Albert Park circuit last week on the “Toyota simulator”.
When it became clear after scrutineering for the 2010 opener in Bahrain that Stefan GP would not be racing, Toyota issued a media statement.
Stefan intended to race this year with Toyota’s support and the Japanese marque’s 2010 package, including a rebadged car and engine.
But with no entry for 2010, it is believed the Stefan/Toyota alliance therefore lapsed, with all the equipment sent to Bahrain set to be returned now to Cologne.
Toyota said on 12 March, the day of free practice in Bahrain, that its F1 factory now enters “a new era”, with 200 staff still on site to serve “external clients”.
As well as the driver simulator with “14 laser-mapped circuits”, Toyota is offering for use its CFD capabilities, two wind tunnels, manufacturing machines and test rigs.
“We are excited by the challenges our various clients will bring us in 2010 and beyond,” said executive vice president Yoshiaki Kinoshita.