Toyota Gazoo Racing

Toyota appoints new WEC LMP1 team president

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Toyota has appointed Hisatake Murata as the new president of its LMP1 team in the FIA World Endurance Championship as it plans for life after Porsche in the series.

Murata has worked with Toyota since 1987 in a variety of roles, being part of its WEC efforts since the formation of the championship in 2012.

Murata will take over with immediate effect from Toshio Sato, who has been relocated to Toyota’s powertrain division.

“I am proud to take this new role at TMG [Toyota Motorsport]. Since the beginning of our hybrid LMP1 project, I have built up a strong relationship with TMG members so I am looking forward to working together even more closely as we push to succeed in all areas,” Murata said.

“I would like to sincerely thank Sato for his leadership of TMG since 2015 and wish him all the best in his new position.”

Murata’s appointment comes just one week after Porsche announced its decision to close its LMP1 program at the end of 2017, leaving Toyota as the sole manufacturer in the class for 2018.

While details regarding Toyota’s involvement in the championship next year remain unclear, Murata’s appointment suggests there is some kind of future for its LMP1 program.

Hartley’s F1 grid penalty streak continues in Abu Dhabi

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Brendon Hartley’s record of receiving a grid penalty at every Formula 1 race he has started is set to continue in Abu Dhabi this weekend after Toro Rosso was forced to change part of his Renault power unit following the last race in Brazil.

Since making his F1 debut at the United States Grand Prix last month, Hartley has faced a grid drop at all three races he has started so far amid ongoing reliability difficulties for power unit supplier Renault.

After being forced to retire from the last race in Brazil two weeks ago due to an engine issue, Hartley has received a 10-place grid penalty for Abu Dhabi after it was confirmed Toro Rosso had changed the MGU-H on his power unit.

Hartley is yet to score any points in F1, having retired from two of his three races so far to make his debut run to P13 in Austin his best result to date.

The Toro Rosso driver finished 20th in FP1 and 19th in FP2 during Friday’s practice sessions in Abu Dhabi as he continued to get to grips with the Yas Marina Circuit.