March 14, 2008
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Will Toyota's Way Win on the Track?
Car Maker Is Counting On
Its Consensus Style to Break
Formula One Losing Streak
By JOHN MURPHY
March 14, 2008; Page B1
When the Formula One racing season starts on Sunday with the Australian
Corp., which can practically do no wrong in the factory and the showroom, will
be out to prove after years of disappointing finishes that it can finally turn things around in the world's top
Since joining F1 in 2002, Toyota has never won a race or ended a season in better than fourth place despite
spending an estimated $2.5 billion the past six years. Last year, it finished sixth out of 11 teams, causing
restlessness among Toyota's top executives.
"Money cannot buy success in F1," says Marcel Cordes, executive director of Sport+Markt, a sports-
marketing consultancy in Cologne, Germany. "The lack of victories is becoming more and more of a
problem. I think 2008 is the key year for them to show that they are not only part of the show but a
Lead driver Timo Glock of Germany, right, with
Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe, will be out
to show the auto maker can shine in the
Australian Grand Prix on Sunday.
Now, Toyota is pinning its hopes on fully implementing its
vaunted consensus-management style, which is out of step with
the rest of the world of grand-prix racing, to breathe life into its
half-billion-dollar-a-year F1 team.
When Tadashi Yamashina took over as Toyota's F1 boss last
year, he began teaching his 650-member team of drivers,
engineers, designers, mechanics and support staff that the key to
winning can be found in the Toyota way, a set of management
principles that helped the company grow from an obscure
Japanese auto maker into a global auto giant.
"We encourage teamwork and we always have our minds set on