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Toyota needs a win
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Toyota needs a win
Posted By:   |  15 Jan 2009   |  6:37 pm GMT  |  0 comments

Amid promises of a first win being around the corner and a commitment to stay in F1 for the long term, Toyota virtually launched their new car today in an online ceremony, which saved them a lot of money. It’s important at the moment in F1 to show that you are cutting costs wherever possible. I’m hearing that job cutting programmes are starting to bite now, many posts have been shed in catering departments, while one UK based manufacturer team has imposed a 20% pay cut on management and 10% on the workforce. There will be some big job losses very soon as the pre-Christmas FIA world council decisions kick in.

Toyota, which has had a 1,000 strong workforce in Cologne will surely be among them. The company announced, shortly before Honda’s withdrawal from F1, that it expected to lose over £1 billion this year as car sales plummet around the world. And because F1 is now viewed as part of the automotive sector, rather than as as media property or an entity in itself, it will fall victim to whatever cuts are imposed in the automotive world.

The Toyota team enters it’s eighth season in Formula 1 in probably the best shape since the 2005 season, when Jarno Trulli was a regular podium visitor. But it badly needs a win to justify staying in the sport. Last year’s car was quick on smooth circuits like Magny Cours and Budapest, but was pretty inconsistent. However the team were more of a force towards the end of the season, despite McLaren, Ferrari and Renault all developing their cars right up to the end. This and the work over the winter has given Jarno Trulli and the management the confidence to talk about Toyota seeking its first win in F1.
So are they ready to win?

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  1. Al27 says:

    Mike Gacoigne was an asset, but it was just too much for him to commute from Britain to Germany.

    Glock and Trulli are safe hands, but you wonder if there’s another Hamilton out there, laying undiscovered? If there is, you can bet money on any team other than Toyota finding them.

  2. john g says:

    who have toyota got driving them forward? they are a completely anonymous team – if you think about any other team, there are dynamic figures there who get things done. stephano domenicali / luca di montezemolo, flavio briatore / pat symmonds, ron dennis / martin whitmarsh, frank williams / patrick head, christian horner / adrian newey, even vijay mallya (with gascoigne), and of course mario theissen and willy rampf, who have made amazing progress and really put toyota to shame.

    i just can’t see it happening. the drivers i feel compared to the rest of the field are average at best, the car has mostly always been a midfield contender. and with their KERS way off track (but still trying to implement it rather than just leaving it out), they have failed to take advantage of this season’s rule changes in my opinion, and i expect them to be behind the big 3 again, probably behind renault and RBR, maybe even williams.

  3. Mike Ellison says:

    I think Trulli is better than most people give him credit for and he has steadily improved whereas others like Fizzy fizzled. Navratilova always said you’re only as good as your bad days and Trulli has consistently reduced his bad days over the years. I think early on he was relying on his qualifying prowess and didn’t really know how to keep a race going or how to convert a bad start into a good finish but now he’s learned that. If he’d learnt it sooner he’d have gotten a better drive and better results.

    I think Toyota have had a similar story in that they’ve improved their bottom-line performance but I agree with James that they lack the people to significantly raise the top-line performance. Whether you like Mario or not, that’s what he brought to Sauber that Peter didn’t have. Okay, he brought loadsa cash too but I think the change in leadership style made just as much difference. I wouldn’t like to have Mario as a boss but I’m sure he’d make me achieve more than I would think possible.

    I’d like to see Toyota win some races, then maybe they’d attract the leadership they need. If team Honda folds they’d be silly to not go shopping for Ross.

  4. Shane says:

    I think Toyota have a driver pairing to rival that of any other on the grid, Trulli is very underrated in my opinion and is (and has been for a good 4 or 5 years now) one of the top drivers in Formula One. Toyota have seemed to lack stability but with this blank sheet of paper I hope Trulli gets a shot at the title that any class driver deserves to have a go at.

    I disagree with the comment about Sauber, I think it’s testament as to how well the team was run that they stayed in the midfield (and often upper) for so long with relatively little funding. I think Theissen the wise fox that he is saw Sauber as the perfect place for him to pump his money and men into, and together they are a match made in heaven so to speak.

    Calling what the pecking order will be this year is nigh on impossible, whereas before we always had a general idea, I think Sam Michael is right that it will be atleast 4 or 5 races before we really see where everyone’s at, and I think nearly anyone could be at the front

  5. Bradley says:

    Hi Shane,

    I think you’re spot on about Sauber. They did fantastic things on a meagre budget – and invested very wisely and sensibly for the future with their wind tunnel and CFD capacity. They were always extremely efficient, as anybody who saw them packing up after a race would know.

    However, I’m not sure about the assertion that Toyota has a driver pairing to rival any on the grid. I’ve got a massive amount of time for Jarno – he’s a lovely bloke, and probably the most decent human being among the drivers in F1. But has he really got the mental strength to pick up a team and drive it forward, or to battle through adversity? I think the kindest suggestion you could make is that his abilities in those areas are unproven; the unkindest would be more categorical. I think he often over-thinks his driving, constantly searching for a narrow window of perfection rather than being able to cope as well as the best with constantly changing variables such as grip and car balance. I would argue that is what’s behind his flashes of brilliance that some construe as unrealised potential – and others see as characteristic of his personality and approach.

    As for Glock, he had a solid first season, but is there anything to suggest he could rival any of the lead drivers in the top four teams? There simply isn’t the evidence to bracket him with them yet – which doesn’t mean he won’t get there, of course. But he had one outstanding performance in 2008, in Hungary; I’m not sure that there were any others? But I’m prepared to be corrected…

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