LONDON (AFP) — Ralf Schumacher has confirmed that he will be leaving Toyota at the end of the 2007 Formula One season.
The German joined the team in 2005 on a bumper deal but has never been able to deliver the kind of results envisaged at that time.
There has been speculation over Schumacher's future all year and Monday's announcement confirms that his time at Toyota will end with his current contract at the end of the season.
"Having been a Toyota driver in the past three years, I opted for looking for a new challenge," he said on his personal website.
Schumacher has managed just three podium finishes for the Japanese team, none this season, but while he has struggled at times to match the pace of Italian teammate Jarno Trulli, the truth is that Toyota have never been able to place him in a competitive car.
"I joined Toyota with high expectations," Schumacher said. "On the one hand, I regarded it as a major and exciting challenge to be involved in the development of a new racing car.
"On the other hand, I also learned to like the Japanese style of living, during my long stay in Japan before entering Formula One. And I still get on well with the Japanese mentality. But I am waiting for years for a competitive car."
The 32-year-old brother of F1 legend Michael will announce his future plans after the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix later this month. He added: "I'm going to have several conversations in the coming weeks.
"I will announce my decision when the season is over. For me, the financial aspect is far less important than the chance of being involved in the development of a car and being successful afterwards."
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