Toyota Motorsport GmbH has today announced that its Chairman, Tsutomu Tomita, will become Team Principal of the company's Formula 1 team, Panasonic Toyota Racing effective 1 January 2004. Ove Andersson, after 30 years of successful management of Toyota's European motorsport arm, will become Advisor to the company.
Tsutomu Tomita said of the announcement:
"We can not thank Ove enough for his contribution to Toyota Motorsport's activities and achievements. Ove's move is along the lines of Toyota's policy which sees its employees taking up new roles at certain points in their career within the company. From next season I will manage both the company and the race activities together with President John Howett. With the help and advice of Ove, my mission is to make Panasonic Toyota Racing one of the top Formula 1 teams as soon as possible."
Ove Andersson also commented:
"I want to thank Toyota for having given me chances in its various motorsport activities and I am proud to continue to support the company in my new role. Thirty years ago I started with three people in Belgium. Since then I have set a lot of targets and I have achieved them together with Toyota. Together, we manufactured Toyota's first ever Formula 1 car. When it appeared on the grid at the Australian GP in 2002, it was an amazing feeling for me that I will never forget. I am sure Toyota will succeed in Formula 1 and I look forward to seeing its first victory in the future."
Tsutomu Tomita started his career with Toyota in 1969 as an engine development engineer. In 1996, he became a member of Toyota Board of Directors and was responsible for all international Toyota Motorsport activities. Tomita was the driving force behind Toyota's decision to enter Formula 1 and in July 2003, he moved to Toyota Motorsport's factory in Cologne to spearhead Toyota's F1 activities on site.