With the new Toyota TF108 launched, the employees at the Cologne headquarters have been busy discussing the 2008 car. The beleaguered squad seem confident that this year will see a turn around in the teams fortunes. I remain skeptical for now though, as this banter is thrown around every year, with added promises that they won’t do as badly as the year previous. And with a two season deadline to produce results, the pressure is on the Japanese team.
The aerodynamic concept of this car has changed. The TF107 was an evolution of the TF106 but this time the new package is a departure from recent Toyotas.
The primary aerodynamic design philosophy for the TF108 is geared towards optimising the entire package to minimise balance and downforce changes throughout a lap, thereby producing a more driveable, aerodynamically robust car.
In addition to the aerodynamic philosophy, another fundamental change is the wheelbase, which is longer.
I am pleased to say the TF108 is on target, the aerodynamic efficiency and associated performance metrics continue to improve rapidly, but of course the real test will come when it runs on the track.
Personally, I believe the target should be to fight systematically for the podium in 2008. Next year we should aim to achieve what BMW Sauber achieved in 2007, which was to be the best of the rest. Pascal Vasselon.
Big words from Vasselon there, but I fear he has set his targets a little too high. The last time a Toyota driver stood on the podium was Australia 2006 at the third round, and before then the squad achieved three thirds in 2005.
New driver to Toyota Timo Glock was equally optimistic, and says that his time spent away from Formula One shouldn’t hurt his chances at hitting the ground running.
Even though I have not raced in Formula One since 2004, I have tested quite regularly so I expect it will take very little time for me to get back in the groove. I want to have the most successful season possible. I aim to be consistent and to help the team move upwards. My first goal will be to regularly challenge for points and I believe we will be able to do that. Timo Glock.
Jarno Trulli also stated that he felt podiums were a possibility in 2008, but the Italian is likely to be facing his final year at Toyota if he cannot find some pace out of the car and fight for points on a regular basis.
Finishing on the podium is always possible and . Obviously we have to be careful and not be unrealistic – Formula One is a very hard sport so we cannot expect to suddenly be right at the top.
We have to be modest and say that we have some work to do to catch up with the very top teams but I think we can bounce back and score points regularly if we do a good job over the winter time. This means we can expect to fight for podiums sometimes.
We know we still have a lot of work to do to achieve our aims but there is certainly the potential within this team to be successful in Formula One. I am optimistic for the future. Jarno Trulli.