Rule Changes Could Bring Toyota Racing Hybrid To Formula One


By winning three of the eight races in this year’s World Endurance Championship, Toyota showed the racing world that it was serious about a return to professional motorsports. But Toyota is playing coy when it comes to a return to the prestigious Formula One series…though upcoming rule changes could bring Toyota back to F1.

When asked by a reporter if Toyota planned a return to Formula One, Toyota’s Managing Officer Kiyotaka Ise said;

“ First, we’ll need to raise the profile of our hybrid vehicles through the WEC races and accumulate more technological expertise. Next year, we want to win the WEC’s Le Mans 24-hour race in France. We’re preparing for that now.”

In other words, if Toyota’s TS030 hybrid race car program proves dominate enough in the WEC next year, then a return to Formula One could be in the cards as well.

As it just so happens, Formula One is working on some new rule changes that would really benefit Toyota’s hybrid racing program. The rule change, to take place in 2014, would increase the capacity for the Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) system used in the racing hybrids from 60 kw to 120 kw. The WEC currently limits KERS systems to just 60 kw (about 80 horsepower) as well.

Toyota dropped out of Formula One in 2009 after eight years of unsuccessful racing, though their excuse was that the sport elitist and out of touch with consumers. Yet Toyota may be on the path to changing its mind, despite a destructive debut of its hybrid race cars at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

For what it’s worth though, I find series like the WEC and American Le Mans far more entertaining than the pretty boys of F1. Experimental cars like the Toyota TS030 and the Nissan DeltaWing captivate me more than anything…but that’s just me. Formula One has a huge fan base and a prestigious history; Toyota could definitely get the word out about its racing hybrids with a F1 entry.

Source: The Truth About Cars

About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.
  • eeenok

    2009 was in the 1990’s?

  • Uncle D

    I don’t think the prototype program has anything to do with any aspirations of another F1 journey. Toyota proved to be very competitive with their TS020 in just the two years that it competed, but that same success was never seen in the many seasons that they participated in Formula One. I think Toyota should stick to sports car racing. They are much better at it.

    “Toyota has not racing in Formula One since the 1990s, deeming the sport elitist and out of touch with consumers.”

    I read this one statement about ten times over and could not make any sense of it whatsoever. The first part is just bad grammar, but it seems to be saying that Toyota hasn’t raced in F1 since the 90s. I don’t know about these facts, but Toyota never competed in Formula One during that decade. After 1999, they pulled the TS020 and made the full move into the world’s most prestigious series. In almost an entire decade of expending the largest budget of any team, Toyota’s complete lack of success brought the decision to cut losses and quit the game. Once again, Toyota should stick to sports cars.

    • Christopher DeMorro

      @ Uncle D

      Corrected for accuracy and grammar.

      And I concour, Toyota probably should stick with sports cars, though their TS030 hybrid has already won three of the eight races in the WEC series. They certainly seem intent on making racing work this time.

  • The changes to Formula One drivetrain regulations for 2014 are PROPOSED. Bernie Ecclestone is adamantly opposed to the proposal. Bernie may be a doddering old fool, but anyone who know anything about Formula One would think twice before betting against him.

    Formula One is completely dominated by aerodynamics. Engines are an invisible part of the racing at present. Neither Toyota nor any other engine manufacturer (VW has suggested it might like to jump in as well) will have the slightest interest in competing in F1 if the sport does not do away with the heavy emphasis on aero. Adrian Newey is worth a second a lap to any team that hires him. At present, which engine a car uses is largely irrelevant.

    So why would any engine company want to spend big bucks to be irrelevant? Ain’t gonna happen.

  • Benjamin Baker

    I’m not sure that Toyota would return until F1 rules allow for innovation and development of the power-train. Their aim seems clear, and that is to raise to profile of Hybrid Technology. I agree, I almost find the WEC more interesting than F1. It is about the technology and that is why Toyota are perfectly suited to Le Mans.

    However, I still wait for the day that Toyota road adverts use images of the TS030 to advertise hybrids. There seems to be a lack of it at the moment.