PEOPLE: TSUTOMU TOMITA
Name: Tsutomu Tomita
Tomita was born not far from Nagoya and began his career at Toyota at the age of 26 when he began working as a development engineer for road car engines. In 1987 he was appointed head of engine development for the Toyota Motorsports Division, overseeing projects at Le Mans and in the World Rally Championship. This led to further promotion and in 1996 he was appointed as general manager of Toyota's powertrain engineering division and a member of the board of directors of Toyota Motor Corporation, as well as being the the man in charge of motorsports activities. It was during his period on the board that Tomita was the driving force behind the company's move towards F1, which began at the end of 1997 with a plan to challenge for the Le Mans 24 Hours in order to build up a team to move on into F1. After Le Mans participations in 1998 and 1999, the team then began preparations for F1 and Toyota was ready to enter Grand Prix racing at the start of 2002. This coincided with the end of Tomita's period on the board and he moved on to become the chairman of Toyota Motorsport GmbH, the man in charge of the F1 programme. In July 2003 he moved to Germany and at the start of 2004 took over from Ove Andersson as team principal.