Toyota has pulled out of the Formula One world championship after eight fruitless seasons, joining BMW in the exodus. Honda quit at the end of last season. The companies cite the need to cut costs in the current tough business environment as the reason.

The company is now expected to look for a buyer for its European-based F1 team which finished fifth in this year's constructors' championship won by Brawn GP, the former Honda F1 outfit.

As recently as July, Toyota was one of a number of teams who signed up to stay in the sport until 2012.

Toyota finished fifth in this year's constructors' championship as the formerly Honda-owned Brawn GP team took the title. In its eight seasons and 139 grands prix races Toyota has just three pole positions, 13 podium finishes, and a best result of fourth in the 2005 constructors' championship.

Analysts suggest that Toyota will save JPY50bn (US$553m) a year by quitting F1. For fiscal 2008, Toyota reported a consolidated operating loss of JPY461.01bn, the first operating loss since fiscal 1937. It aims to cut JPY900bn in costs as it anticipates its worst ever operating loss of JPY750bn for the current business year.
Adding to F1's woes, sole tyre supplier Bridgestone announced on Monday that it will quit at the end of the 2010 season.

But new teams have been lined for the 2010 season which starts in Bahrain on 14 March.