Toyota F1 Comeback Rumors Are Swirling, but It’s Complicated

And it could be with Haas, of all teams.
Clive Mason

The rumor mill never stops, but as is to be expected, most of the stuff it churns out is pure speculation. Today, the rumor emerging from the WEC paddock in Brazil is that Toyota will return to Formula 1 via a partnership with the Haas F1 Team. The report was originally published by a reputable Hungarian outlet, and echoed by several other racing publications. However, the specifics of the alleged comeback aren’t entirely clear, with some claiming that Toyota could simply sponsor the American team as early as 2025, while others say that the partnership could extend to building F1 cars alongside Haas and Dallara starting in 2026.

Toyota nor Haas have made any official statements on the matter, and it’s highly unlikely that they will anytime soon. Either way, while this report should be taken with a grain of salt, it’s worth pointing out that there is some credence to these claims. For starters, Toyota’s former headquarters in Cologne, Germany—from when the automaker ran its own works F1 team from 2002 through 2009—still exists. In fact, it was never dismantled or closed down, but simply repurposed to provide other F1 teams with state-of-the-art facilities so they could do their own development. Most recently, McLaren has been a longtime user of the site, especially the wind tunnel, though the papaya squad now has their own. According to GPBlog, Andretti Global has also been renting space and tool time from Toyota in preparation for a possible F1 entrance in 2026.

The original report claims that Haas is negotiating with Toyota to use these facilities, though no explanations are given. The other facet of the rumor is that Toyota could partner with Haas as a sponsor. The Japanese automaker would reportedly not be involved in a technical partnership with the brand, but instead, something similar to the Sauber-Alfa Romeo marketing exercise. Frankly, this sounds odd given that Haas runs Ferrari engines, so bringing Toyota into the fold—even if it’s a mere decal—likely wouldn’t be okay with the Italians. At least Alfa Romeo is part of the Stellantis family, while Toyota certainly isn’t.

Getty Michael Cole

Lastly, the report mentions a joint venture between Haas, Toyota, and Dallara “from 2025 onwards.” This would reportedly result in the automaker building components and various parts for the Haas F1 cars, but nothing involving the power unit. Because, again, Ferrari. According to the rumor, Toyota currently has “no immediate plans” to be an F1 engine supplier.

So, where does this leave us? It’s complicated, but it seems that at least part of the rumor could easily become a reality. If Haas convinced Toyota to hand over a handsome check in exchange for a Haas-Toyota marketing ploy, the American team could maybe convince Ferrari that it needs that money to survive. Ferrari, wanting to keep that revenue stream open, might oblige. In return, Toyota could also let Haas use some of its facilities at no cost or reduced cost, which could help Haas be more competitive. Exactly which facilities Haas could benefit from, however? That’s not entirely clear.

Looking back at a recent comment that, unlike this rumor, is actually on the record, might shed some light on how likely Toyota is to return to F1 in any capacity. Speaking to GPBlog back in May, Managing Director of Toyota Racing Rob Leupen told the outlet this: “What did Formula 1 bring Toyota at the time [the 2000s], apart from a nice factory? A lot of money went through to make Toyota’s name better known. I think in WEC we can show more what Toyota does, what the brand stands for.”

Doesn’t sound too encouraging, now, does it?

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