Formula 1 comeback? Toyota in talks with Haas

While Audi is preparing at full speed for its F1 entry in 2026, talks are underway in the background about the Formula 1 comeback of another car manufacturer: According to information from the Hungarian website Toyota is in advanced negotiations with Haas about a collaboration.

It could be a win-win situation for both sides: Toyota could have a cost-effective route back to Formula 1, and Haas could receive technical know-how, development and production capacities as well as a lot of sponsorship money in return.

Haas is by far the smallest racing team in Formula 1. The team has an engineering office at Ferrari in Maranello, where the aerodynamicists work and develop the car in the Ferrari wind tunnel. Haas buys everything that the regulations allow directly from Ferrari. In addition to the power unit, this includes things like wheel suspension and gearbox housing.

The self-developed components are manufactured by Dallara in Italy. At the team headquarters in Banbury, Great Britain, the vehicles are only prepared for racing. The ‘core team’ in Great Britain has only around 120 employees.

Haas: Emancipation forced by Ferrari

This is exactly what could become a problem in the long term: On the one hand, Haas is dependent on Ferrari. Close cooperation with the Italians was essential for the start of 2016, but slowly the team wants or needs to emancipate itself. In Formula 1, there has been a discussion for some time about how to prevent dependencies and cooperation between teams.

Especially because of the AlphaTauri (now Racing Bulls) which was so strong at times, close relationships were a thorn in the side of many teams. Zak Brown even made his displeasure public: “You can see on Netflix how the team boss of Red Bull makes a decision about the driver who drives in the AlphaTauri. If you look at Helmut [Marko] say that they will do everything they can within the rules to bring the two teams together. If the CEO [Peter Bayer] says that she [Red Bulls] If we have to use suspension because it’s the second most important part of the racing car, then that doesn’t seem particularly independent to me.”

The technical regulations already classify components into different categories. A Formula 1 team is not allowed to purchase certain parts from a competitor. These include all aerodynamic components as well as the monocoque and various crash structures. This category is Listed Team Components.

In contrast, the TRansferable Components that can be bought from direct competitors. These include, for example, wheel suspensions and the gearbox including the housing.

For a long time now, the complete rear suspension in Formula 1 has been located in and on the gearbox housing, Photo: LAT Images
For a long time now, the complete rear suspension in Formula 1 has been located in and on the gearbox housing, Photo: LAT Images

Many teams are of the opinion that the gearbox housing in particular should be classified as LTC. This would kill two birds with one stone, because the rear suspension is located in and on the gearbox housing and could therefore no longer be purchased one-to-one from a rival.

Haas is the team that would be most affected by changes to the component classification and has therefore been the most vehement in opposing them. Neither the know-how nor the infrastructure for such projects are available.

Is Toyota the new Dallara for Haas?

This is exactly where Toyota could come into play: Because the Japanese are not a competitor, development and production could be outsourced to them. The collaboration could even go much further: Toyota could replace the entire Dallara deal and other parts of the Ferrari collaboration.

Toyota Motorsport (Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe) in Cologne has production and development capacities. McLaren has just moved out of the Toyota wind tunnel because its own wind tunnel in Woking was completed. At present, TMG is primarily developing and building the hypercars for the WEC World Endurance Championship.

A complete takeover of the team by Toyota is currently not planned. Gene Haas has already turned down several takeover offers from other interested parties. In addition, Toyota does not have an engine, and that could become a problem for Haas.

Because even if Ferrari were to emancipate itself from Ferrari on various levels, it would still be dependent on Maranello or at least another manufacturer for engines. But it is questionable whether Ferrari would be so enthusiastic about a partnership with Toyota.

Formula 1: Manufacturers have to supply engines, but…

The regulations do stipulate an obligation to supply engines, but there are exceptions. In order to prevent a team from being left without an engine, there have been clear rules for several years. The engine manufacturer that supplies the fewest teams is obliged to supply engines to the requesting team under certain conditions.

New engine manufacturers are exempt from the regulation. Red Bull Powertrains and Audi definitely do not have to deliver in 2026. Mercedes already has two customer teams, McLaren and Williams. That leaves Ferrari, Honda and Alpine – should the French remain loyal to Formula 1 on the engine side as well. If nobody wants to, it would be decided by lot.

But amendments 5 and 6 could cause problems for Haas. Amendment 5 states that the customer team must not be an automobile manufacturer or an affiliated company. Amendment 6 also states that the team must not have a sponsorship agreement with a competitor of the engine manufacturer. This applies to all engine manufacturers to a certain extent.

Toyota engine with Alpine help?

In the long term, some believe, Toyota could supply an engine itself. It is questionable whether the Japanese would belatedly develop an engine starting from scratch. In fact, a door could still open here: Alpine is more or less openly considering discontinuing its engine program.

There is talk in the paddock that the French are offering their intellectual property on the Formula 1 engine for sale. This would allow them to at least partially refinance investments that have already been made for 2026 but may not be needed at all. A newcomer would mainly buy time with this. It is unclear whether such a step would even be conceivable for Toyota.

Toyota was already in Formula 1 from 2002 to 2009. At that time, the cars and engines were developed and built entirely in Cologne. visited the factory in 2020. The story about Toyota’s short, expensive and not particularly successful Formula 1 foray can be found here:

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