Citing that Formula One racing is out of touch with its customer base, Toyota Motor Corp. confirmed that it will not be returning to the sport. Last weekend, Senior Managing Director Tadashi Yamashina, the head of Toyota's global racing program, said that its priority is grass-roots racing, which leads to a closer connection with the fans.
This includes events such as NASCAR in the US and the Nurburgring 24-hour endurance race in Germany. Yamashina revealed that this change in thinking was started by Akio Toyoda who took over as president last June.
The change also coincided with Toyota's worst financial downturn in seven decades. This led Toyoda to let go of the Formula One program in order to cut costs. At the sidelines of this year's Nurburgring race northwest of Frankfurt, Yamashina said that the decision not to participate in Formula One was speeded up due to the economic crisis.
He said that it would not have been as abrupt but that it was inevitable. He also disclosed that Toyodaâ€š stance on motorsports is "geared more toward the customer."
He shared that there was a "big gap" between Formula One and Toyota's actual car users. Formula One still is the pinnacle of auto racing but its image has become too "elitist."