Zoran Stefanovic, head of the Serbian-based F1 team Stefan GP, has announced that the team will sever their relationship with Toyota. Stefan GP had attempted a short-cut route into Formula 1 by riding the coat tails of Toyota’s technical development for the 2010. Toyotoa had already designed and constructed a race-ready car for 2010 by the time their board of directors decided to pull the plug on the Formula 1 project.
Surprisingly, none of the new teams ostensibly enterting the field this year (Lotus, Virgin, HRT or USF1) chose to take advantage of the extant program. Stefan GP had hoped to use Toytota’s offloaded program to leverage a place on the 2010 grid. Their hopes were elevated when USF1 attempt to mount a viable program this year was aborted. But ultimately, the FIA decided that, since Stefan GP hadn’t proceeded through the normal approval process, they wouldn’t be allowed to join the grid on an ad hoc basis.
Once this decision was a fait accompli, the termination of the arrangement between Stefan GP and Toytota was a foregone conclusion. Stefan GP doesn’t have their own infrastructure in place to construct an F1 car, and the race-ready car that Toyota had already built was a 2010 vintage, which would undergo no upgrades from now until 2011. Hence, if Stefan GP wanted to use the same equipment in 2011, it would already be obsolete, such is the pace of development in this sport.
“We are very grateful to Toyota, which is a great company and doing a great job in what they are doing,” Stefanovic told Autosport. “They are now organising things differently, they are now more profit centered in TMG in Cologne.” Regarding the possibility of working with Toyota in the future, Stefanovic would only say, “We are not going to discuss it at the moment.”