The FIA has described Bridgestone and Toyota's decisions to exit Formula 1 as a "concern" – and says it wants to clarify Toyota's legal position, as it had previously committed to the sport until 2012.
Toyota, along with all the other current teams, had signed the new Concorde Agreement in the summer, binding the Japanese company to F1 for the next three seasons. Although in theory its departure releases a place on the 2010 grid for the former BMW Sauber team – which is set to be rescued by the Qadback organization but only had a reserve entry for next year – the FIA says it needs to know more about Toyota's situation before it can admit an alternative team.
"Urgent clarification is now being sought from the Toyota F1 team as to its legal position in relation to the championship," said an FIA statement. "This will have a direct bearing on the admission of any future 13th entry."
The statement added that Toyota's sudden decision to pull out having already signed the Concorde Agreement contrasted with Bridgestone's declaration earlier this week that it would leave F1 when its current tire supply deal ended at the end of next year.
"The announcements this week by Toyota and Bridgestone of their withdrawal from Formula 1 are of concern to the FIA," said the governing body. "Bridgestone has given almost 18 months' notice of its intentions, thereby allowing the necessary arrangements to be made for the future supply of tires to the championship. Toyota's decision, however, comes just weeks after its F1 team signed the new Concorde Agreement until 2012."
Earlier this year the FIA agreed to let the teams put together their own plans for drastic cost cuts rather than imposing its previously announced budget cap scheme. It said that Toyota's withdrawal emphasized that reducing budgets remained an urgent priority – and one it had been making for some time.
"The FIA has repeatedly warned that motor sport cannot outpace the world economic crisis. That is why the competing teams have been asked to cut costs and the entry of independent teams has been encouraged.
"The FIA accepted the cost-reduction measures put forward by the teams on the basis that they would ensure a long-term commitment to the championship. Toyota's announcement demonstrates the importance of the original cost-reduction measures set out by the FIA.
"The FIA will now work to ensure that Toyota's departure is managed in the best interests of the championship and will continue to encourage the F1 teams to undertake the necessary cost-cutting measures for the good of the sport."