Later today the details of a settlement in Formula 1 will be announced, with at least eight teams putting in their entries for 2010. There is speculation that Toyota will not, having decided to use the argument to withdraw from the sport. It is hard to imagine that this is the case as the company would have to pay out huge sums of money to lay off staff, buy itself out of an engine supply contract with Williams and reach a settlement with the Formula One group. The Toyota cars have have been fairly competitive this year and to give up at this point makes little sense. However, it is worth noting the decision taken on Wednesday night to end all further Japanese GPs at Toyota-owned Mount Fuji, leaving the race to Suzuka once again. The Mt Fuji experience was not very rewarding with bad weather disrupting the event in 2008. F1 will return to Suzuka without too much anguish, particularly as reports suggest that it has now been brought up to standard with major work having been completed in recent months.
Whether Toyota is there or not, is of little real relevance in F1. The key team is Ferrari and as long as the Italian operation is still racing, the sport will be relatively solid. Mercedes has been playing an important role in mediating between the teams and the FIA and it seems that part of the agreement is that the teams will agree to supply engines, gearboxes and so on to new teams, at a sensible price. The likelihood is that there will be at least two and possible as many as four new teams applying for franchises. It is anticipated that USF1, Adrian Campos’s Campos Racing (as opposed to Alejandro Agag’s Addax team, formerly known as Campos) and Prodrive will apply for entries and it is believed that Joan Villadelprat’s Epsilon team could also be putting in an entry. Epsilon has the people and facilities to build its own cars in a new factory in Spain. Campos is believed to be close to signing a deal to have chassis supplied by Dallara.
More details will emerge today – inevitably – as I will be travelling and so will not be able to do much updating, until this evening. However, if things get really exciting I may stop at a roadside cafe somewhere and tap something into the i