Toyota: A BlogF1 Retrospective

Toyota: A BlogF1 Retrospective

Toyota Bosses - 2007 Malaysian Grand PrixThis is the second in my retrospective posts series, looking back at the previous three season previews I’ve written. This time around it is the other Japanese team, Toyota who feel the wrath of my website history. Ever since joining the circus back in 2002 they’ve never really looked like winning, this despite their enormous budget, one that is often considered to be the largest on the grid. My first preview came about just prior to the 2006 season when the team were riding the relative high of 2005. By 2008, the squad had received an ultimatum of sorts from the parent company, frustrated by the lack of results from the masses of investment. They have a couple of years to sort themselves out to avoid the might of Toyota’s accountants, no doubt.

2006 Toyota Preview Post

The car has been doing okay in testing, but it hasn’t been ground-breaking and many people wonder what they do with their large budget. Whilst the team have looked good in the past, and Trulli in particular has put in some fantastic qualifying performances, they haven’t yet looked like coming close to realising their dream. BlogF1 in 2006.

2007 Toyota Preview Post

Being one of the largest manufacturers of automobiles on the planet, you’d expect Toyota to be passionate about motor racing. You’d expect such a company to work tirelessly in the pursuit of speed and reliability in their racing cars. Let’s be honest, you’d expect them to be a winning team. But after launching their assault on Formula One in 2002, Toyota are yet to make a serious attempt at winning races on a regular basis. The team has been floundering towards the rear-end of the grid since its inception, and aside from a couple of brief flashes of speed, the Japanese squad is yet to show the passion and flare for racing that have seen other teams do so well for so many years. BlogF1 in 2007.

2008 Toyota Preview Post

The 2008 season will be Toyota’s seventh in Formula One and it could prove to be very important for the future of the squad. Since their inaugural season in 2002, the highly-funded team have have failed to score a victory and have only been on the podium four times, each occasion being a third place finish, 75% of which were during their most successful year to date – 2005. The bosses are looking very carefully at the team, weighing up the pros and cons of continued investment in what is little more than a mobile advertising board. BlogF1 in 2008.

Toyota have a slogan, a motto of sorts: One Aim. I often wonder if that aim is to show the world how not to run a Formula One team. The squad fail to show passion for the sport, at least to me anyway, and have failed to finish higher than third in their six year history. For the record, Jordan scored their second of second-place finishes in their seventh season, the first of which came in Canada in their fifth year. By their eighth season the squad had a victory in Belgium, repeated the following year in France and Italy. Drawing direct comparisons is perhaps unfair, but comparing budgets, passions and ultimate talent, you cannot deny that Toyota look to be running on fumes rather than a full tank.

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13 comments

  • You had it all summed up right from the start, I reckon:

    “…many people wonder what they do with their large budget.”

    I’m guessing they spent it on Ralf, but what’s their excuse now?

  • Actually, Sidey, I think Toyota may be taking their cue from Ferrari as regards livery. That hasn’t changed a lot in 50 years, has it? 😉

  • “unimaginative and uninspired” would certainly cover a lot of it.

    ferrari have raced under several shades of red recently and are therefore exempt. also, sometimes they carry cigarette branding and sometimes the stripes.

    plus massa wore green overalls once.

  • Heritage and tradition only come with time though so once upon a time Ferrari’s livery would have been thought of as Toyota’s is now… 😉

    Although I agree that they really could try a bit harder – but then again do we need another attempt like last year’s Honda?

  • Give Toyota a break. After all, they have enough to worry about without thinking about their colour scheme.

    Even so, they do change the livery very slightly each year. 2008 sees them with tattered red edges bleeding into the white, whereas last year the division between the two colours was a straight line. Maybe they’re happy with the colour scheme and are just fine tuning it.

    I see nothing wrong with keeping the same livery every year anyway – if it’s good, why change it? It would aid recognition for commentators as well if the teams would stick with a particular livery. Think of that gorgeous green Jordan when it was sponsored by 7up – if they’d kept that colour, the team would probably still be on the grid and winning races (we all know that colour makes the difference, don’t we?).

    In fact, changing colours is usually a sign that a team is in deep trouble. Look at Honda of late as an example. And constant changes often mean that the team can’t hang on to a sponsor – always a symptom of terminal disease.

    I agree that Toyota’s chosen colours are boring – but that’s down to personal taste and, if the team wants to reflect their ethos in the colours, Toyota are getting it about right. Boringly reliable is the secret of their success as manufacturers, after all.

  • Actually, one thing I do like about Toyota are the red trousers they make all the staff wear. Just look at the picture at the top; rich, successful Toyota bosses walking around with bright red slacks on.

  • Ferrari raced in various colours every time Enzo decided he would quit F1 over some minor dispute or other. Then at the next race the Ferraris would for example appear in white and be called NART (North American Racing Team) or they would be in the yellow of a Belgian team (Ecurie Belge?). The racing red that everyone pictures today is nowhere near the original rosso corso colour. It was practically brown.

    I have a feeling that Surtees actually clinched his title in a NART Ferrari. I was told at the Autosport show a few years ago by a guy selling models that he had the yellow Ferrari because once in 1962 they ran in those colours in Belgium.

    Toyota decided to fail the day they fired Mike Gascoyne. He had them headed in the right direction.

    Why they fired Salo and McNish after the first season is beyond me. A brand new team needs driver stability not a clear out.

    I still cannot believe they decided to set up in Germany. While there are no doubt some good Germans working in F1 they could have made their life a lot easier by setting up in England and poaching staff from other teams.

    I think the quote that will haunt Toyota long after they leave F1 was the reply given to the question ‘do you think you can compete with Ferrari’s budget?’. The answer given was ‘Toyota has enough cash in the bank to buy FIAT never mind Ferrari.’ Not the smartest comment to make unless you go on to win.

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