Toyota’s departing World Rally Championship team principal Tommi Mäkinen says the squad could operate without the need for “much support” from his replacement because its structure is well defined.
Four-time WRC champion Mäkinen has helmed Toyota’s WRC efforts since its return in 2017, which resulted in a win on just its second start.
In 2018 it won the manufacturers’ title, then ran Ott Tänak and Sébastien Ogier to title glory in the last two seasons.
“I have a feeling that they don’t need much support, because they know what it is,” Mäkinen told DirtFish.
“We kept people all in the right positions and they have built it together so well.
“I would say, team principal is not such an [important role] because we have such a big number of [people equivalent to] team principals in the team or strong people working together.”
Despite Ogier and team-mate Elfyn Evans finishing first and second in the points after Monza Rally just over a week ago, it was Hyundai that took manufacturer honors for the second year in a row.
This defeat aside, Mäkinen was pleased with the outcome of the season.
“It’s a great feeling once again: this time we are first and second in the drivers’ championship,” he said.
“Well done to all of our drivers and co-drivers; they all did great seasons.
“For Seb to win seven championships is an absolutely incredible achievement and I’m pleased he could do it with our car. Elfyn also has been brilliant as we had expected when we signed him.
“I’m also thankful to our whole team. They have done such great work and I’m now feeling very confident to leave the team to continue the great work that they’ve done since we started.
“It’s a great example of solid teamwork and how much you can achieve, and I’ll be following them closely and be with them all the time.”
Toyota president Akio Toyoda praised Mäkinen after the Finn’s final rally as team principal, and also commented on his impact on the future of the company’s rallying plans. Makinen’s replacement is due to be announced later this week.
“Thanks to Tommi, we were also able to develop the GR Yaris [the planned successor to the current Yaris WRC],” Toyoda said.
“He led us to change our way of making cars through participating in the WRC.
“As we already announced, his role from next year will be as our motorsport advisor. He will continue supporting Toyota to make ever-better cars.”