Toyota's future in Formula 1 is not guaranteed, AUTOSPORT has learned, with the signing off of the team's 2010 budget by its parent car company being postponed until later this year.
Although the Japanese car manufacturer has signed the Concorde Agreement, which in theory commits it to F1 until the end of 2012, it has emerged that the team has not yet had its finances for next season officially signed off.
Toyota F1 president John Howett confirmed the delay to AUTOSPORT, and said that the worldwide economic downturn that has affected the car manufacturer meant there was now severe pressure to cut costs.
Earlier in the weekend, Trulli mentioned the reluctance of Toyota to renew his contract could mean the manufacturer is considering leaving F1; and it emerged that Williams wants out of the deal with Toyota as well (I suppose they want to drop Nakajima - from a great height).
I've said it before: John Howett was instrumental in FOTA, but he does not call the shots inside Toyota. There's a bunch of suits in Toyota City that have the last word. Either way, Toyota is either following Honda, or at least seeing its budget severely curtailed.