Toyota deal possible for resurgent Haas

Jul.10 (GMM) A new and wild rumour is circulating that Japanese carmaker giant Toyota could be considering a return to Formula 1.

According to the speculation, the marque – having wrapped up its works F1 project at the end of 2009 – might see the resurgent-yet-small Haas outfit as the way back into the paddock.

Nico Hulkenberg is heading to Audi-owned Sauber from next year, but he hailed the progress Haas has made recently – especially with its upgrade package introduced at Silverstone.

The German thinks Haas is now knocking on the door of the top five teams in F1.

“The update really did something to the car, and I genuinely think we’re in the fight to be fifth-fastest now with Aston (Martin) sometimes, sometimes Alpine, sometimes some others maybe,” said Hulkenberg.

“I think we’re there and I think we can hang on to that now.”

Most authoritative sources now agree that Alpine refugee Esteban Ocon is set to replace Hulkenberg next year, with his deal partnering rookie Oliver Bearman next year perhaps to be announced imminently.

“Yeah, it’s going well at the moment on that side for me,” Frenchman Ocon said. “So I hope in the next couple of races I’ll be able to speak more about it.”

As for the Haas-Toyota rumour, one possibility is an initial Sauber-Alfa Romeo-style branding deal, to then be expanded over time.

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