Or did Toyota drop him ?
Who knows, the fact is, the speculations are over and there is now officially empty race seat in Toyota for the next season. There are several candidates. Timo Glock, the fresh GP2 champion may be one of the hottest.
Ralf made the announcement today in Shanghai and also published it on his website:
“Having been a Toyota driver in the past three years, I opted for looking for a new challenge. I joined Toyota with high expectations. On the one hand, I regarded it as a major and exciting challenge to be involved in the development of a new racing car. On the other hand, I also learned to like the Japanese style of living, during my long stay in Japan before entering Formula 1. And I still get on well with the Japanese mentality. But I am waiting for years for a competitive car.
Toyota also was a nice and interesting experience – particularly the cooperation with the team, engineers and mechanics. Still, it’s time now to look for a new challenge.
It goes without saying that I’m extremely motivated when it comes to racing at Shanghai and São Paulo. I will give my very best to at least finish the mulled season on a high, with and for Toyota.
I’m going to have several conversations in the coming weeks. I will announce my decision when the season is over. For me, the financial aspect is far less important than the chance of being involved in the development of a car and being successful afterwards.”
Hm, what other driver seats in F1 are there available that are better than Toyota ? None at the moment… McLaren might have a vacancy, but I doubt they would pick Ralf, there is a driver under threat in Renault, but with probably 2 candidates for the seat. Williams has been better than Toyota this year and one seat has not been confirmed there yet. Button has not officially confirmed he is staying in Honda, but I can’t see Honda signing Ralf… So what is left ? Super Aguri, Spyker and perhaps Prodrive, if they make it. Hm, does not seem to me that Ralf decided to leave Toyota himself and look for new challenge with Super Aguri or Spyker… the claim, that “the financial aspect is far less important than the chance of being involved in the development of a car and being successful afterwards’ can be also translated – “I will race for free and any car, just please somebody keep me in F1…”