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Toyota threatens to pull out of F1 in 2010
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Barcelona (Spain) (AP): Toyota is threatening to pull out of Formula One from 2010 because of a dispute over a proposed budget cap.

Team president John Howett said today that unless the teams and governing body FIA could reach an agreement over next season's cost-cuts, the Japanese team could not guarantee its future in the sport.

"From Toyota's perspective, there are a number of concerns that really need clarifications before we commit to the future," Howett said ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix. "We want to be here. (But) I would say it is very likely we won't enter unless something changes significantly."

Teams who sign up to the voluntary USD 60-million cap will be given more technical freedom, which a majority of teams and drivers believe will create an uneven playing field.

"In the case of Toyota, we don't like the idea of a two-tier F1," Howett said.

F1 teams met Sunday to discuss the issue, and Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo is expected to have a separate meeting with FIA president Max Mosley before the Monaco GP.

Ferrari has been one of the biggest critics of the scheme, and has been backed by the teams who cannot envision the sport's future without the iconic Italian car.

"I think we are at a critical time for F1," said McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh after emerging from a Formula One Teams Association meeting. "There is a lot of challenge there and we have to continue to press."

Howett said more transparency was necessary.

"I think really as a company we want to remain in F1 as I understand it," Howett said. "But there are issues that need clarifying. We are totally in favor of continuing cost reduction and shall we say reducing the cost of entry to F1."

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