Toyota go Japanese in quest for first F1 win

Thu, 1 February 2007, 12:11

Toyota’s formula one focus shifted to Japan after failing to win a single grand prix in its first half-decade on the grid.

In a stark change of policy since the Japanese carmaker made its grand prix debut in 2002, Auto Motor und Sport reports that seven of the Cologne based squad’s eight members of top management are now Japanese.

Swede Ove Andersson steered Toyota into F1, but the red and white squad is now led by team principal Tsutomu Tomita.

Former technical director Mike Gascoyne left the team last year in a move that preceded the appointment of Tadashi Yamashina as vice president of Toyota Motorsport GmBH.

This year’s TF107 car has been produced by a group led by ‘director of technical coordination’ Noritoshi Arai, while Auto Motor und Sport reports that Masayaki Nakai is now head of the financial department.

Toshio Furutani is officially the ‘managing officer’, while Yoshiaki Kinoshita is listed by the team’s official website as being the ‘executive vice-president’.

Another executive vice-president is Kazuo Okamoto, and Ichiro Ogiso runs the ‘motorsport business management’ department in Tokyo.

The only non-Japanese face in Toyota’s top management team is Briton John Howett, president, but fellow Europeans Pascal Vasselon and Luca Marmorini have prominent technical roles.

“2006 was a really disappointing year,” Tomita said.

“We made an unfortunate announcement about (expecting) our first win just one year ago but we failed to succeed.

“We want to apologise to our worldwide fans and sponsors.”


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