Is A Toyota F1 Comeback On The Cards?

Rumours suggest the Japanese giant is working on a comeback to the pinnacle of motorsport, in partnership with Haas
Toyota's last F1 car, the 2009 TF109
Toyota's last F1 car, the 2009 TF109

Toyota first dipped its toe in the world of Formula 1 in 2002 and lasted eight seasons in the sport, eventually pulling out at the end of 2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis. The team’s tenure was infamous for not producing a single race win, despite having the backing of the then-largest car manufacturer in the world.

A lot’s changed since then: F1 has absolutely surged in popularity, and Toyota has launched a renewed commitment to performance cars and motorsport, with fully-fledged programmes in the World Endurance Championship and World Rally Championship. See where this is going?

Toyota's last F1 car, the 2009 TF109
Toyota's last F1 car, the 2009 TF109

Yep, if rumours are to be believed, Toyota is eyeing a return to the Formula 1 paddock. This time, though, it’s set to enter not as an all-new factory team, but in partnership with Haas – and they could be linked up as soon as next season.

The reports first came from Hungarian outlet Formula.hu, which claims that Toyota has been actively investigating an F1 return for over a year, and the two outfits are close to coming to an agreement.

The Haas of Nico Hülkenberg at the 2024 British GP
The Haas of Nico Hülkenberg at the 2024 British GP

It would begin as just a sponsorship deal, with Toyota branding potentially appearing on Haas’ cars as soon as 2025, similar to the partnership that saw the Sauber team branded as Alfa Romeo between 2019 and 2023. Whether this will see the Haas name disappear entirely isn’t clear.

Formula.hu reports that this could then deepen into a technical partnership, with Toyota partly or even entirely building Haas’s cars at the German base of Gazoo Racing Europe, which also handles the manufacturer’s WEC and WRC entries. This facility already features a wind tunnel from Toyota’s previous F1 outing.

Ritomo Miyata's Toyota GR-branded F2 car
Ritomo Miyata's Toyota GR-branded F2 car

There is one caveat, though: at this time, it appears that Toyota has no immediate interest in building a power unit, and the cars will initially continue to be powered by Ferrari engines.

Should this come to fruition by 2025, one of the Toyota-branded cars will be driven by 19-year-old Ollie Bearman, who was recently confirmed as the replacement for the departing Nico Hülkenberg. Whether Kevin Magnussen will retain the other Haas seat isn’t clear, with Formula.hu suggesting it could be taken over by current Alpine driver Esteban Ocon. However, it’s also worth mentioning that Toyota sponsors current Formula 2 driver Ritomo Miyata, to the extent that his car even has a Gazoo Racing livery.

This is all very much rumour right now, but we’ll be watching closely to see how this story develops. Toyota GR F1 Team has a nice ring to it, right?

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