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?